31st December 2020 at 2:26 am #118756midnightshadowParticipant
I guess I have a question really. Do I tell my son about what his dad is like?
Warn him that he needs to call me if things go wrong during contact?
31st December 2020 at 5:34 am #118758KIP.Participant
I’d definitely have a talk with him, you don’t need to go into details but he needs to know to ring 999 if he has to as well. If you’re having any doubts about the safety of your child with their father then I wouldn’t send them unless there’s a court order. He can apply for supervised contact. I’d get legal advice and support from your local women’s aid. Rights of women offer free legal advice and have a good website. Not sure what age or circumstances but the biggest mistake I made was shielding my child from his abusive father. They need the tools to know how to deal with abusers. That they shouldn’t be involved in abuse and it’s not their fault and they too can walk away from abuse, even if the perpetrator is their father. Lundy Bancroft has a book called When Daddy hurts Mummy. Women’s aid have lots of resources too.
31st December 2020 at 10:26 am #118774
My father was an abuser. My mother left with me when I was a toddler. Growing up, my mother always used to tell me ‘Daddy wasn’t a nice person, he did bad things but none of those things were your fault and you are not to blame’ or words to that effect. She never said the word ‘abuser’ she did use the words ‘bad, not good and not nice’. I didn’t grow up with a chip on my shoulder about it, because I was exposed to the reality of him at an early age and I grew up in a time when the words ‘abuse’ and ‘abuser’ were not in the common vernacular.
As an adult I realise that ‘bad’ was her way of saying ‘abuser’. Would it have been more helpful to me if she had used the right label to describe him? I can’t truthfully answer that. If your child is of a certain age where they can comprehend what the word ‘abuser’ means and entails then perhaps you could use it. If your child is very young and isn’t likely to grasp what ‘abuse’ and ‘abuser’ really means then perhaps using simpler words as my Mum did with me might be a better option.
31st December 2020 at 11:52 am #118779
I should add, I had very little to do with my father growing up. He was allowed supervised contact with me at a centre but only actually turned up twice. He soon lost interest in me, afterall, he couldn’t get away with his power and control tactics whilst in the presence of child protection.
My journey into why I found myself in an abusive relationship with a man at a later stage in my adult life was unravelled in counselling and thereafter by myself through self-reflection and work. And although my father plays a part in this, it was actually another family member with spurious ideas about power and control who did much of the damage. I’m saying this because naturally one might think that if my mother had done a good job in explaining who my father was and what he was when I was young, I may not have found myself here. I just wanted to say that this is not the case. It’s not that black and white, not in my case anyway. Sometimes people cannot see what is right under their nose.
Yes, I believe you should tell your child as much of the truth as you feel your child can comprehend and comfortably deal with. It’s important that it’s handled correctly and the child can ask as many questions as they feel they need to. I do recall feeling a bit odd about it when I was first told, so I would recommend you create the safe, warm and loving conditions in order to deliver the information.
1st January 2021 at 12:39 am #118835fizzylemParticipant
I would say yes and no, yes that he absolutely needs to know what his exit strategy is, if he needs help then how to contact you, childline, the police, and the person next door maybe? Cover all the options, so whenever he is alone he knows what to do if needed.
(detail removed by Moderator) It’s important to validate his thoughts and feelings, help him label his emotions, label what is best and unacceptable behaviour in ‘others’ when it comes up, but it is as equally important not to feed his mind with your opinions of his father, this creates confusion, inner conflict for him, until he has the ego strength and a good sense of self to deal with and understand his emotions he needs to feel he came from loving, caring parents, (detail removed by Moderator) whether this is true or not – until he becomes old enough that is.
He will discover in his own time that his father is who he is. Doing this may even back fire on you, children do often misunderstand things and they will react from their emotions and egos, meaning they will often do what they want, what they feel at the time and not do what is right or give themselves what they really need. They also learn v quickly how to play one parent off against the other and agree with whichever parent they are with – say what they think you want to hear.
Placing him in the middle of your conflict is to be avoided at all costs.
I was always very careful not to do this, to remain positive, compassionate and supportive as this is what she needed from me. If I was struck by what I heard I either empathised with her or said nothing at all, but I always acknowledged how she felt or what she was thought. Her view – not mine. There are sometimes opportunities presented to suggest a possible way forwards too so I did this in a general way, not a your dad this and that way, eg this is what I would do, grown ups tend to do x when y happens because…
As she grew she formed her own opinions from her own experiences. All I have done is validate her thoughts and feelings. She has only just reached early teenage years and has now opted out of seeing him, and I can honestly say this is down to nothing I have done or said, it is solely because she has her own experience of him. She has a good understanding of why she thinks and feels the way the does and that she has every right to think and feel this way, but I am also trying to teach her to be kind and respectful when she does not wish to be around him or others – so that she conducts herself in this in life; if she is mean to dad then she will be mean to others, she needs to handle this with respect – this also leaves her feeling ok about things and not rubbish about it all. Open communication and having clear boundaries is also something I think is important to show, offer, teach, so that she learns what is right and wrong for her and what to do when she feels something does not feel right.
It really only messes with their heads and causes anger, confusion, low self esteem, depression and anxiety if we try to force our own opinions of dad onto them. When young if they feel bad about dad they feel bad about the self too. We develop in relation to our parents, the how we feel about them, the way we experience them, therefore, it’s better that we help turn these experiences with dad, the challenges into know how and resiliance only. Use these challenges as a way to strengthen and affirm their own beliefs, existance and sense of self.
Unless of course you think you need to act because there is a safeguarding issue, then you have every right to pull him out of this relationship but you will likely need the support of the child support agencies as well. If he wants this then fine, but if not, if he still wants to see his father despite there being risks, this would be traumatic for him and thus needs to be handled sensitively.
Your power here is the love and behaviour you model, the how you are with your son, your relationship, he will see, think and feel for himself which is the right and better way to do things from his mother and make his choices. Have trust and faith in yourself and he will learn to do this too.
I would call the NSPCC and ask them for their advice and help with all of these type of questions, and by doing so also gain yourself and your child some support in the process. FL.x
1st January 2021 at 2:58 pm #118878
It’s a sensitive subject and requires sensitive handling.
I understand what you mean by being aware of unduly influencing a child’s mind to fit a certain narrative (detail removed by Moderator)
(detail removed by Moderator) but equally let’s remember that Midnight is not on trial here and that it was her partner who perpetrated the abuse and that she has only come to this forum because she is the victim of his abuse.
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