Can I Attend My Estranged Child’s Graduation Ceremony?

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Seven years ago I let my son go live with his dad, it was supposed to be for the school year. Since then I’ve seen him twice, and both times he was screaming he hated me. He disconnected both phones. I don’t even know if he gets my letters. It’s been 7 years and now he’s graduating from high school. I want to go see the graduation ceremony but am afraid that he’ll yell at me. It is so very painful. I believe my ex has had nothing but time to poison my son when it comes to me. He didn’t even file for child support. One more thing he could gripe about. What can I do?

If there is no restraining order against you, you can probably attend the graduation ceremony if you would like. At this point, there may be very little you can do to force your child to interact with you. If your child were younger, you could petition the court for parenting time. This would be a court order, and the father could have been held in contempt of court if he did not allow you to have your parenting time with your son. Unfortunately, because your son is eighteen, or nearly eighteen, a court will probably not be able or willing to order parenting time. Instead, all you can do is to try to keep telling your son that you want a relationship with him. Do this carefully and respectfully, though. If your son perceives your attempts at reconciliation to be harassing, then he could file a restraining order against you. If you decide to attend the graduation ceremony, consider sitting out of view and either not approaching your son at the ceremony, or keeping any conversation you wish to have with him brief. For example, you may wish to simply hand him a card and say that you are proud of him, then leave. You may also wish to leave a message or gift for him with a family member or friend, so as not to instigate an argument.