Dear Annie: I am the mother of a biracial child. My son’s father, “Derek,” and I are not currently together, as he resides some distance away, but we visit often so Derek and our son can have a relationship. Ultimately, we would like to be together.
The problem is my father. He is not, and never has been, a fan of interracial dating. Over the past five years, he has come to accept his grandson, but on more than one occasion, he has expressed his “disgust” and “disapproval” of the relationship I have with Derek, even using the “n” word. I have zero tolerance for this. My father doesn’t have to like Derek, and I’ve never tried to force a relationship between them. But he needs to respect that I’m an adult, and regardless of whether Derek and I are together, I am going to encourage him to have a healthy relationship with our son.
How do I get my father to understand this and, in the meantime, allow him to have a relationship with his grandchild when he harbors such ignorance and animosity? – Stuck
Dear Stuck: Hopefully, your father’s attitude will become more enlightened the more attached he becomes to his grandson. Nonetheless, the way to deal with Dad is to set boundaries. Do not permit him to denigrate Derek in front of your child or you. If he does so, leave the premises immediately, not in anger, but out of necessity, saying, “Sorry, Dad, but I will not tolerate such remarks.” Be consistent and firm. You can train Dad how to behave whether he agrees or not.