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Am I being a bad parent... for resenting my partner's choice of guardian for our son?

We asked a group of anonymous mums and dads to have their say on a delicate dilemma.

Image: Shutterstock/fizkes

MAKING PLANS ‘IN the event of my death’ might feel a little uncomfortable, but as a parent it’s a responsible, practical way to ensure your kids are well looked after should anything happen to you.

One of the most important elements of this kind of precautionary planning is appointing a guardian within your will, a nominee who will take on the care of your child should those hard-to-think-about circumstances ever arrive. But deciding who to bestow this responsibility upon can be a tough decision, as one reader found out this week.

Each week in our series, Am I Being A Bad Parent?, we hear from a reader who can’t figure out if they’re on the right track with a parenting choice, or if they’ve gotten something 100% wrong. To get a balanced view of the situation, we put the dilemma to a group of Irish parents, keeping things anonymous to encourage honest answers. 

We’re always on the lookout for new dilemmas, by the way. If you have one, let us know anonymously in our survey here.

This week’s dilemma

Am I being unreasonable… for resenting my partner’s choice of guardian for our child? My partner and I are in the process of making a will and part of that is deciding on a guardian/guardians for our little boy (1) should anything happen to us. We’ve had a lot of summit meetings and my partner is very keen to choose her own brother and his wife. I know the safety and happiness of our son is the most important part of all this, but I’m a bit sore about my own family being snubbed. The thing is though, it’s all precautionary, so we’re not even going to be telling the people we choose. Am I being a bad parent to let this cause a row?

Our anonymous readers’ responses

Yes, you are being unreasonable if your discomfort isn’t solely based on a belief that your family would be the ones best placed to give your child a happy, healthy upbringing in the event that you die. Does that focus the mind? Because that is what you are talking about here; this is no place for hurt feelings. And you had better ensure you have talked through your expectations with whoever you name in your will as guardians. It is vital that you know it is a responsibility they are willing to accept.

You’re being unreasonable. It’s never nice to feel that your own family are being excluded, but we are talking here about something that will take place in the event of both of you being unexpectedly dead. Is there a way to frame the decision solely around the people who might be most suited or willing to take on the responsibility perhaps, rather than making it a ‘my family or yours’ scenario?

You’re not being unreasonable. The issue here is of familial perception. We had a similar discussion in our house. In my case I understood how my family worked and my partner understood hers. It was a hard decision but we were both happy with the choice in the end.

You’re not being unreasonable. Often within families there are quite differing opinions on child rearing. Have you looked outside the family? We did. The guardians do not necessarily have to be relatives, just trusted people who will bring your kids up to have the same values that you have tried to instill.

So what’s the final tally? Is our reader being unreasonable? 

Yes – 2

No – 2

Tell us your thoughts in the comments! Have a dilemma you’d like to share? Let us know anonymously in our survey here. 

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