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FIL from hell, what do you tell DC??

(10 Posts)
ilovecookies123 Wed 07-Jun-17 20:53:52

Hi everyone! Sorry I've had to name change because I know that certain family members are on here and know my user name but I'm an oldey in fact a lot of you will probably recognise me from my predicament.

So brief back history as I know everyone hates a drip feed.
DH is 1 of 4 (3 DSs and 1 DB) his parents went through an ugly divorce about 10years ago after a horrific marriage in which they all witnessed a lot of bad arguments and generally made everyone's life a misery at home. As DH grew to be a young teen he suddenly started intervening in the arguments (I think is partly because although his DM is lovely and wonderful in general she is manipulative even to this day) and I think he felt the need to stick up for his mum. Believe me I know his DF was absolutely vile to her but I'm not sure whether he should have stayed out of it but that doesn't really matter now anyway. What followed was his DF basically blaming DH for the breakdown of their marriage (not the 5years affair hmm) and actively telling his DM that DH was the reason he was leaving.

DH and FIL do not speak AT ALL but (and this is the big but) we still have to see him as 2 of DH siblings still have a relationship with him. So every birthday party and their kids parties he's there but to be honest so far it's not bad because there's always a lot of people and we just stay away from each other.

Now the problem... we have DS who is 5 and he has started asking us questions quite frequently about DH dad, who he is, why don't we see him etc etc, what do people think is the age appropriate thing to tell him? I'm most worried because I don't want to paint a picture that a parent could one day stop talking to him its just so negative! AIBU to tell him that he just works a lot and is very busy and lives very far away?

My other AIBU is are we wrong to not tell him who he is when we next see him at a party? What if he asks if that's him? He knows his name as he unfortunately overheard it and it's quite an unusual name.

MrsJamesMathews Wed 07-Jun-17 20:58:40

I think age appropriate would just be to tell your DS that his DGF was very nasty to his DF a long time ago and so they aren't friends any more.

It's not a bad lesson to learn that if you're shitty to people they stop loving you.

NapQueen Wed 07-Jun-17 21:00:06

I think if you feel so strongly against fostering any sort of relationship between your dc and fil then you ought to go fully no contact.

Please dont lie to your son about him or pretend he isnt in the room. Protecting your son from poison is more important than attending family birthday parties fil is at.

Alternativley; attend child free events with fil there and drop out of ones which are child included.

ilovecookies123 Wed 07-Jun-17 21:04:15

That's the thing, I don't want to lie to him and neither does DH, we both fee quite strongly about that.
The thing is if FIL wanted to come over and say hello neither of us would mind really but he's not interested. I gave him an opportunity when I was pregnant and he never took us up on it.

My issue is, why should DS miss out on his cousins birthday parties, it doesn't really seem fair that he misses out on that part of his family because of FIL it's a very tricky situation that we're trying to navigate through.

MrsJamesMathews Wed 07-Jun-17 21:07:03

He shouldn't miss out, of course not.

I can't see what the harm is in telling him the truth. A limited version, obviously.

I think you'll find once you answer his question, it won't get asked again.

RecherchedeTemps Wed 07-Jun-17 21:41:28

We told our DCs a limited version of why we are NC with my parents when they were smaller and then as they got older a bit more but even now they're adults we still haven't told the whole truth about the incident that triggered the NC, but DS spent some time with them in his late teens, of his own volition, and has made his own mind up about what they are like and hasn't got any time for them.

YellowDinosaur Wed 07-Jun-17 21:47:12

I think age appropriate would just be to tell your DS that his DGF was very nasty to his DF a long time ago and so they aren't friends any more

It's not a bad lesson to learn that if you're shitty to people they stop loving you

This is spot on. And how we have explained why dh doesn't have a relationship with his dad. As our kids have got older we've elaborated more when they've asked

moanymandy Wed 07-Jun-17 22:23:00

I don't have any contact with my father and my ds1 at around 5 has asked me on one occasion about it. He asked me where my daddy was and I told him honestly that I didn't know.

He asked a couple more questions and I answered them as best I could at an appropriate level and he hasn't mentioned him again since!

He didn't seem too bothered, I'm sure he may ask again in the future as he gets older and hopefully it will be appropriate to give a little more detail.

I think that honesty is the best policy in these situations. Good luck!

ilovecookies123 Wed 07-Jun-17 22:23:29

Some really helpful advice here thank you.

Those of you who have actually had his siutuation have you actually been in the situation with your children where you've been at the same event or party as them? Have they asked to go and speak to them? If so how did you approach it?
My concern is that now he knows his name if we are at a party and someone calls his name out that DS will ask if that's him to which you would have to be honest. What if he then asks to go and speak to him? FIL must have no interest as he has never made any attempt to know DS. I wouldn't want him to come away feeling rejected.

MrsJamesMathews Wed 07-Jun-17 22:48:30

I mean this is the nicest possible way OP, but, you're over thinking this.

I've been in a similar situation although not a parent and not a truly awful person, just a major falling out.

Why does it matter if your DS knows his DGF by face? And doesn't it really matter if he tries to say 'hello'?

Unless you think your FIL might be abusive to your DS I can't really see the issue. Mainly because I don't think a 5 yo is likely to ask to say hello to an old man you've told him isn't very nice, and because even if he does FIL will either politely respond or he won't and that will be the end of that.

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