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Explaining difficult family relationships to young children

(12 Posts)
wakarimasen Tue 09-Dec-14 21:11:47


I'm looking for some advice but I'll try to keep the story short!

I don't speak to my father at all. I had a horrible childhood as a result of his alcoholism, he was emotionally and occasionally physically abusive. I left home at 18 and had minimal contact until he.threatened to disrupt my wedding day and I ended all contact.

I have a strained relationship with my mum but she has some contact with me and my children. My DS is now 3 and I know it's only a matter of time before he asks about having a grandad (my husband's father died when he was a child). So I don't know if I should be honest with him or if I should just say he doesn't have a grandad? Any advice welcome...

Singleandproud Tue 09-Dec-14 21:22:25

I guess you take the similar line lone parents take... All families come in different shapes and sizes etc.

MuttersDarkly Tue 09-Dec-14 21:24:24

My son found pictures of both my father and my brother when he was around that age. I kept it simple "that's my dad/brother". Over time he came back to the subject and I've answered questions honestly, but simply.

There have been times when I've found it tricky. Becuase "they did a bad thing (brief as age appropirate as possible explanation) so I don't see them anymore" worried me for its potential for DS to think one mis-step and I would drop him like a hot potato too. But thankfully he never did go "2+2=47474626374 Am I next ?"

It's much easier now he is older (14). He still asks questions from time to time, but the answers can be that bit more nauanced and detailed.

It's not always easy from the parental perspective, but "steady as she goes" calm, brief and open (ish) seems to have worked for me (so far).

wakarimasen Tue 09-Dec-14 21:38:20

Thank you for sharing your experience. I think you're probably right about being open about it...

plentyofshoes Tue 09-Dec-14 21:45:48

I am nc with my parents. Ds asks about my mum, but oddly not my dad? I am will not lie, however it is difficult as I do not want him to feel insecure and the truth is not nice. I am vague and say they live far away and I do not see them anymore.
The questions are getting harder to answer though sad

Cabrinha Tue 09-Dec-14 21:52:43

How close do they live?
I don't see mine. I tried once a year after my daughter was born, but they fucked it up.
She knows about grandparents, sees her father's parents every week.
Never asks about mine. Did once I think, I said they lived quite far away.
Don't assume it will all be questioned and complicated!

Cabrinha Tue 09-Dec-14 21:53:16

Sorry - age - mine is 6. So may ask yet, but certainly hasn't been an issue so far.

Chrysanthemum5 Tue 09-Dec-14 21:57:53

I've been no contact with my father for 27 years (gosh I'm old!) the DCs occasionally ask but really they are not interested in him. If pushed I say he wasn't a kind man so he's not ok to be around. I'm just fairly factual about him, but no details - he was violent, alcoholic and abusive but the DCs don't need to know that Good luck with what ever you decide.

Meerka Tue 09-Dec-14 22:00:13

I have a great collection of grotty parents <slightly flippant>

underneath the humour though, it hurts. My son asks to see the photo albums of when I was a child and it's just too painful.

I deal with it by saying that we don't have much contact because they say mean things. That I love them but if people say mean things and keep on saying mean things and don't apologise, then you have to walk away. It isn't okay.

it will teach him that you don't stick around to be treated badly, I hope, and also that if someone -does- say sorry, then you can mend bridges.

One day I hope the bridges in my family can be mended, though it's a slim hope.

wakarimasen Tue 09-Dec-14 22:15:39

Thanks for the replies. He has a lovely relationship his Gran (DH mother) and that's great. Hopefully that will be enough for him. Meerka, I don't have any childhood photos
photos either and it's a shame I can't share these like his dad can.

They live far enough away that we don't bump into them, although I will have my sister's wedding next year which we will all have to attend :-(

My son is very sensitive and quite articulate for his age so I'm just keen to get it right.

longjane Tue 09-Dec-14 22:34:32

I did not see or even some of dads brother and sisters
For lots reasons that I don't fully know.
But what my dad used to talk about them says nice things about the nice one and a few bad stories about the bad and really bad ones .
I did meet the really bad one once as adult and have been in contact with some of children and grandchildren . And I made up my own mind.

I think you have be really careful with things like Facebook around your NC rellies could find your kids s when they are quite young so make i sure your kids know your reason why you don't have contact and why they should be adult when they make up their own mind?

Joysmum Tue 09-Dec-14 22:42:34

I'm NC with my GPs. I've just told my dad that they aren't my type of people and I don't like them very much. That's domething she's always related well to, as there are kids in her class she's never particularly wanted to mix with despite them not having specifically done anything.

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