How do I show my son love in a way that is helpful to him and will improve our relationship?

His father and I divorced in a very hostile way. We both could have handled things much differently. In fear, I distanced myself from my son after the divorce. I know now that I was being selfish. I didnt want the responsibility of being a mother, and I didnt know how to deal with his anger toward me.

I struggle with accepting my own responsibility and with not being able to show him the love he needed.

Please show me how to show him love in the way he needs. Also please help relieve this deep sadness and guilt I feel at my own handling of this situation.

I love you, Mahanta. Thank you for all you do for me and others in this world. Your love has never been more apparent to me than it is now, and I am grateful to have you as a guide.

—Deeply Troubled

Dear Deeply Troubled,

Children often think their parents got an instruction manual when they began their family. So when serious trouble like a divorce comes along, a child may expect adults to act more kindly toward one another.

It’s a sour revelation for some children when they find that their parents are only human.

It could be a long time before your son will reconcile with you, because he first needs to do some living. Someday he may understand, too, should he ever find himself in a loveless relationship as you did. Make peace with what happened in the past, then look for a go-between your son would trust–adult or youth–who can assure him of the sincerity of your remorse and your desire to make amends with him.

The rest, of course, is his call.