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How much is okay to tell your children?

I sheltered my daughter from a lot of what her father did, especially to me. But I fear that has backfired on me a little.

By Talara NolanPublished 30 days ago 4 min read
How much is okay to tell your children?
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

I was happy to shelter my daughter from what happened with her father. She still doesn't know that he cheated on me, that he hit me, that he put me down. In fact, when we first left him, she said that he was nice to me, but wasn't nice to her. That is why she thought that we left him. I was happy to have it that way. I know better than anyone the damage that can be caused when children get involved in adult issues. When I was growing up, my father was a drug addict and was very abusive to my mother. I remember it all. It has caused a lot of damage to me, issues that I am still trying to fix. My mother, for clear reasons, hated my father. I am very much my father's daughter, and so her hatred of him did damage to my self-confidence. I so badly wanted to not make sure that damage did not go to my daughter.

I have heard that the best thing a mother can do is to help facilitate a good relationship between your children and their father. That does not mean that you do the work to make it happen, but you don't want to stop it from any way. I know that the best thing for a girl is that she have a good relationship with her father. So when he wanted to apologize to her, when he wanted to be nice to her, I knew I had no choice but to let him. I had to give him at least the chance to make it right for her. It was going to be the best thing for her in order for her to heal and move forward. For a while it worked. It did help her, it helped her to move on and to heal. It was something that she very much needed, and so I don't regret it.

However, now I am in a different situation. A position where she wonders why she isn't seeing her father anymore. She made a comment to me that I should marry her father. I wasn't at all sure how to tell her that it is not going to happen.

See, things between her father and I are not going great. He says that we are still together. However, we don't see him, I don't really talk to him, and most importantly he is sleeping with other woman. He sends me videos of women that he is with, no sex videos, but the women are naked in some of these videos. He says that he is doing bodyguard work for strippers and escorts. However, all of these videos are from the women in their apartments. It's disgusting. So we haven't seen, I won't see him. I know that seeing him means that he will make me have sex with him, and the thought of that is disgusting to me. None of these things does my daughter know.

So what do I do? I want to make sure that I stand up for myself, that I demand to be treated better. I want to show my daughter that she deserves to be treated well, that she should stand up for herself. However, the only way that she knows that I am doing that is if I tell her. On the other hand, I don't want to tell her. I don't think that she should know these things about her father, to know how terrible her father really is. So what do I do?

How much is okay to tell your children? Especially when they are young children. She is only 7 after all. I explained to her that her father isn't very nice to me, that he is going through something, that until I know that we can be safe with him that we weren't going to see him any time soon. That we might not see him again. They are things that she doesn't fully understand. How do I get her to understand without telling her the truth?

Parenting is so hard. It's so hard to know what to do. I wish there were a blueprint of how to do it, of what to teach them, what to tell them. I know that there is no right or wrong answer. No clear rules. Everyone is different. I just wish that there were rules to follow. It would make it easier.

It's hard to see families together, happy and doing things. All I wanted was to give my daughter a family, to have a family. It hurts me to see families together knowing that we could never have that, knowing who her father really is. As she gets older, I don't want her to think that. I want her to have a happy life. I am trying to pull myself out of my funk of sadness. To let go of my painful past, and start to build a happy life. Hopefully if I build my dream life that my daughter will stop asking about her father, and I won't have to answer these questions anymore. I fear that is not realistic, though I can hope.

-T

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About the Creator

Talara Nolan

I am a single parent to a 4 year old girl and live with her in Canada. I love working out and have lost over 45 lbs over time. I would love to share what I have learned and all the things that have worked for me over time.

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Comments (1)

  • angela hepworth30 days ago

    That’s a super tough question to answer, Talara, there’s no easy or right answer to it. In the end, it’s up to you what you decide to tell your child, but I think gentle honesty might be the best way to go about this. Things like expressing to her that he has been violent or just in general very cruel to you will likely change her perspective on the situation. Your fear about seeing him, if vocalized, might be a powerful motivator for her to understand what you’re feeling and why things are how they are, and she may be more accepting of it. Your ex sounds extremely manipulative and abusive and people like that don’t tend to change. Your child, I’m sure, will have to see that herself one day. It might be easy to ease her into the reality of the situation now rather than later. No family is perfect, never feel shame about who your family is. You are enough. I’m not a parent so you would know better than me what to do, that’s just my two cents on the situation. Sending love and healing your way! ♥️

TNWritten by Talara Nolan

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