Ali had recently moved back to her home town after separating from her sons’ father. Ali felt positive about the move…she had family and friends to fall back on and she also felt relieved about the separation.

Ali came to see me because she was struggling to manage James’s outbursts. He was not responding positively to any direction and Ali expressed that she had come to dread mealtimes as the whole experience turned into a battle.

We looked at the past few months and the impact of the separation on James. Ali said that she had changed James’s surname back to her maiden name and he had started at a new nursery.

I asked Ali how much she talked to James about his dad and their past life. Ali said she didn’t say anything negative about James’s dad and also that she wanted her and James to move on and felt it was best to say as little as possible.

We looked at the impact this change would have had on James as well as his likely confusion about having his name changed.

As for mealtimes, I suggested Ali relaxed as much as she could and see this as yet another time to enjoy and spend time with James. Children often see themselves through their parents’ eyes.

The next time I saw Ali she said she had talked to her son about his name and he said he really wanted to have his dad’s name. Ali said she was very pleased with the decision as James seemed so happy. They were also spending time talking about his dad, his old life and his friends.

Ali reported that they had ‘no shouting’ that first evening and that ‘I just went with it at dinner time and guess what? He sat and ate beautifully’ Ali went on to comment how ironic she felt that was.

I have seen Ali since and she has had another child with a new partner. Ali always acknowledges what a profound difference our couple of sessions made to her relationship with her son. James is growing into a happy, easy going chap who gets on well with his step dad and new sister. I always acknowledge Ali’s wish to bring about change and the effort it must have taken, coming to see me.