What do I tell my son?(3 Posts)
My son is 4. He started having a chat with my husband the other day about our names. The conversation turned to the names of my husband's parents. I was standing in the kitchen worrying about how to answer this question.
He knows my mum, he doesn't know my dad or even that my dad exists.
My dad literally wrote me out of his life when my son had just turned one. I have always been second best to my big sister and my son was already second best to his cousins (my sister's children).
My dad and I have always had a rocky relationship and I would even say he emotionally neglected me. He gave me everything on a silver platter growing up, he never physically hurt me, I am lucky in that respect. However I could never please him. I could never do anything right by him. There was a misunderstanding when my son had just turned one. My uncle died and I asked if children were welcome to the wake or not. I did not want to take my son to the funeral but needed to know if the arrangements for his care would be just for the funeral or also the wake. My dad flipped out (he has a chemical imbalance as well) and told me I was irresponsible for wanting to take my son to the funeral. He then wrote me a letter telling me that I was no longer in his life or his will.
This was all good, I made my peace with it. I actually felt happier without him in my life. I no longer feel neglected. I don't exist in his life and he doesn't exist in mine. I am just waiting for the day I'm told he's dead so I can move on completely.
My fear now is when my son asks me about my dad. I don't want to lie to him, but I don't want him to know he's second best to his cousins (who still have a relationship with their grandad). How do I protect him, what do I tell him? What would you do?
No matter what you say to your son he will not fully understand it. He will not ask too detailed questions, so you do not need to explain to a 4 year old what kind of problems you have. Just tell him that this is your father, you respect him and you are thankful for taking care of you the best way he could. Tell him that when people grow older they start to work, to have families and they start to have more time without their parents. And that they often have different opinions on some topics and that makes them mad for a while, but they should continue to respect and care for each other, especially when it is family.
At the end of the day the decision to have such relationship is your father's, not yours.
Do not tell a child that he is second best. His worth does not change because of your father's moods or decisions. His behaviour is his problem and you have to teach your child not to let other people's opinion to change his self-esteem. This is topic that you may discuss with your son on another occassion, so he does not think that his grandfather does not like him enough. But he has to be prepared when he is 10 and he sees it every time when he meets his grandfather. Good luck!
My son's dad decided not to be involved in his life about 8 months after we split. I told him daddy is being silly. So tell him you don't see your dad because he got grumpy and silly.
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