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Should I have been honest?

(5 Posts)
whatdoesittake48 Thu 13-Mar-14 11:38:06

yesterday my daughter (age 12) asked me at the dinner table, with DH and DS (14) present, if I had ever been punched in the face. it was part of a conversation about crooked noses...

Anyway, I said no (which was truthful) then she asked if I had ever been punched at all. To which I replied that yes I had, but only play fighting.

This isn't true. I have been punched by my ex, more than once and many years ago.

When is the right time to be truthful to your children about things like this? My husband is aware, but not the gory details. I want to teach them both about good and bad relationships - yet I still feel shame and don't want to go into the detail with them.

Should i keep it hidden from them forever? is there ever a good time to talk about that kind of stuff.

I want them to see me as the strong and independent woman I am now - not the scared and insecure young woman I was.

bragmatic Thu 13-Mar-14 12:10:05

How interesting that you ask this. My children are 8 and 6. At some point I will tell them about my stepfather, who abused my mother and me. I haven't thought about when, but I have wondered if perhaps it might come up when my oldest child starts to date boys? I really want to have a conversation with her about the way people should treat you when they love you. they don't try to tell you what to do, or control you etc. I want to tell her about abusive relationships and how they start - often with seemingly innocuous comments/behaviours.

I won't gloss over the physical stuff, but I think it's really important to educate girls that abusive partners don't dish out black eyes on the first date, y'know? That the physical stuff is just the outward manifestation of something else that is deeply sinister. And that sometimes, the physical stuff isn't there at all, but a relationship can still be abusive.

But to your question on age. Gosh, I don't know. I was imagining maybe 14 or 15, but if she can handle it earlier then maybe younger. She is a sensitive little thing.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 13-Mar-14 12:11:44

It didn't sound like appropriate environment to drop a DV bombshell. I also think 12yo is a little too young to deal with the idea that Mum was once beaten up by a partner. If your intention is to be open about it in due course then you could start the ball rolling with something less brutal in the context of talking to both your DCs about relationships, respect, safety, acceptable behaviour etc. 'I was once in a relationship with an unpleasant man'... for example. Work up to the fact that it was violent.

wyrdyBird Thu 13-Mar-14 14:15:19

IMO it should not be hidden.

BUT, I also think age-appropriate and situation appropriate is the way to go. As well as (very important) what you feel comfortable about sharing.

So you might truthfully answer, in the situation described above, 'that's quite a serious thing to talk about and I don't want to go into it now.' As you might do with any sensitive topic; there's a time and a place, etc.

In due course, I think all young people should be taught about abuse, what it looks like, and how it starts, in context with the general relationship discussions that take place as they grow up. I don't think any topic should be off limits.

CailinDana Thu 13-Mar-14 14:21:11

I think you should have been honest. They're old enough and around the dinner table is the perfect setting IMO. But it was sprung on you so I can see why you didn't feel ready to bring it up.

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