Note: Mumsnetters don't necessarily have the qualifications or experience to offer relationships counselling or to provide help in cases of domestic violence. Mumsnet can't be held responsible for any advice given on the site. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

How do you deal with it when your dc's father is a monster?

(13 Posts)

And he is a vile, abusive monster.

Dd is only ever to have supervised contact. She sees him for a few hours once a week.

She adores him and obviously need to grow up knowing her father but in the future what will I tell her? It will break her little heart to know this man she idolises is a monster.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 16-Oct-13 14:03:11

I don't know how old your DD is but IME, children are quite pragmatic given the chance. Protect her from him while she's young, tell her the truth in an age-appropriate way as she gets older and then let her make up her own mind about what kind of relationship she has with him. Whatever you do, don't think you have to be his PR agent or cover up for him ... nothing worse than thinking someone's great, being told they're great and then finding out you've been lied to.

Cogito, thank you. I think I have felt like I have to cover up for him. Dd is only 4 so I don't need to explain anything as yet but she loves him so much.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 16-Oct-13 14:13:03

Abusive monsters often have seemingly adoring kids. However, kids are smart and have a strong survival instinct .... if they realise that being compliant keeps them in Dad's good books, they'll turn on the charm. The other thing to consider is that, age 4, she's no threat to him. As she gets older and potentially more challenging, she risks being subjected to the same abuse he showed you. Another reason not to cover up for him but to keep your eyes open for any of his old tricks.

You're spot on! Thank you, you've help me more than I can explain.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 16-Oct-13 15:01:52

Good luck

cestlavielife Wed 16-Oct-13 15:05:13

as a wise friend said to me - "of couse she loves him - he is her father".

and what cogito said.

if questions come up in future answer truthfully to her level.

eg why cant i go to park with him? "he did some bad things in the past so that is why you see him at xxxx place"

i guess explaining his behaviour/what he did was bad. and the consequence is xxxxx.

if you need assistance/ideas/someone to bounce off lines to take - , talk thru with a family therapist or child psychologist. some services offer phone consultations.

Dahlen Wed 16-Oct-13 15:23:59

Just want to echo what Cogito cestlavie have said.

I'm in a similar situation. My X only has supervised contact. I told my DC why at the age of 6, when I felt they were capable of understanding a simplified, age-appropriate version of events. They accepted it very matter-of-factly.

I have basically said that although their father loves them, he becomes violent when he's angry or upset and therefore cannot be trusted to keep them safe. It is not their fault, it is his.

As he is their father and I didn't want them ever feeling that they need to be ashamed or worried about the part of them that comes from their father, I have likened his flaws to baking a cake. Basically the ingredients were sound, but something went wrong in the recipe (mostly the way he was raised). They have inherited great ingredients from him - his sense of fun, his ability to fix things, his open-mindedness - and everyone's recipe is different so they needn't worry that they have inherited any of his bad traits because those were mostly learned.

Dahlen Wed 16-Oct-13 15:24:31

Don't know what happened to the missing 'and' between Cogito and cestlavie there, sorry.

Lweji Wed 16-Oct-13 15:28:37

You got good answers and basically what I've tried doing with DS.

He was 6 when we separated and is now 8.

I have told him in simple terms why I had to leave and why he can't see his dad unsupervised. Unfortunately he's witnessed some of the worst violence, all post break up.

In the meantime he's been disappointed and bullied by his dad, mostly via Skype, thankfully. And I've shown him assertive methods of dealing with that, instead of tolerating or excusing it.
My main concern is that he realises that it's not his fault, but his dad's. And that his dad must earn his trust and his love. That DS is fully deserving of being treated nicely. And that includes reliable contact.

But I have always insisted that it's natural and desirable that he loves his dad and maintains a relationship with him. Despite his shortcomings.
Although having to explain that I don't love him (or even tolerate him around me) anymore.

I think you will do well, if you are worried about this and think of her first and foremost.

blondebutnotdizzy Wed 16-Oct-13 16:41:46

DD's dad is a monster (currently in prison for violent crime against a woman). I have had to explain to her in age-appropriate terms that it wasn't safe for me or her to stay and that he wasn't a nice person (not a value judgement from me, he's been described as much worse by a judge). She has never met him as I moved away before she was born but she doesn't idolise him and she has never expressed a wish to meet him. I feel relieved that he's never pursued contact (because I know women in similar situations have had to allow contact even though it was clear that it was solely used as a means to further harrass them). Be honest and don't ever be afraid to step in if you become concerned that the contact is causing more damage than good.

drudgewithagrudge Wed 16-Oct-13 16:47:29

I have been through a similar situation. I had a son and a daughter from my first marriage which ended and I then remarried and had a son who was 10 years younger than my DD.

I wanted everything to be perfect for him because his brother and sister had to go through their parents breakup. However, fast forward 6 years and my 16 year old DD reveals that her step father has been sexually abusing her for some time. She didn't want the police involved just that he should leave the house which he did and we divorced.

As my youngest DS grew up he wanted to know why his Dad left us and gradually the whole story came out. I was worried that he would hold it against his sister but he didn't. He occasionally saw his father who had moved far away but when he was old enough to understand what had happened he didn't want to see him anymore.

Fast forward again and my DS is in his 20's and his father died. He felt guilty about wanting to attend the funeral but I told him that his father would always be his father and that nobody is all bad. I hope he will remember the good times he had with him but worryingly he confided in me that he feared" turning out like Dad". I had to reassure him that he and his father were two very different people and that he wasn't tainted with the same wickedness.

I can't tell you how much I appreciate your openness in sharing your experiences with me. I understand it must be really painful but its a huge help to me to know others are face with similar situations and that your dc have been able to deal with it.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now