Telling my 7 year old about why I am not with her father anymore.

Michelle - posted on 04/28/2014 ( 5 moms have responded )

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I have been contemplating telling my 7 year old girl the real reason why her father and I are not together. We have not been together since she was very young (before 1 years old) because he was very abusive. I ended up trying to get back togther with him for a couple months when she was 3 but he turned abusive again (in front of her) and I ended it for good. She is now 7 and her father hasn't really been in the picture except ocassional visits when she is at his parents house, but nothing that he has actually initiated. I finally made it so that he could not see her at all because I felt that it was not right to have him in and out, so since I have sole custody I told him and his parents that he is not allowed to see her. She has been asking me why she can't see her father and I have, in the past, been telling her that we just didn't get along, but she is a VERY smart girl and I feel like that isn't enough for her. I contemplated telling her that her father was not a very good person to me but I am not sure if it's appropriate for her age or what I should even tell her. I am currently seeing someone who has basically been her father figure for the last couple years and she considers him a "dad" basically (without calling him that), so she knows what a good relationship is. I am just not sure how to go about telling my little girl that her father is a bad person! (although, not in those direct words I suppose.) Any input would help!! I am at such a loss....

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Jodi - posted on 04/28/2014

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No hostility. I just didn't see why she needed to know. As a person new to the forum, I should probably advise you that when you don't put ALL the information in your original post, we go with what you have given us. You never said she had witnessed physical abuse. Personally, I don't believe it is up to us to pass our judgements about the other parent on to our children. As an example, my son has no need to know that his father raped and hit me, and that is a big part of why our marriage ended. His relationship with his son is separate to the relationship he ever had with me. You don't tell your child that their other parent is a "bad person". Ever. You can tell them you didn't get along. You can tell them that the relationship wasn't happy and there was some violence as a result. But that's about the behaviour, not the person. If she isn't seeing her dad, you can just explain that he's just not cut out to be a dad right now. But don't make him out to be a "bad person".

Michelle - posted on 04/28/2014

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Thank you Little Miss! I know that she will grow up to be a very strong, well rounded woman. She is already mostly there ;) But, I think it's important to know the struggles your parents went through and what they did to become a better person from it. I have read that most kids in DV situations, unless they have a strong parent model, will succumb to DV themselves or become an abuser. I am certain that having a good outcome of this will help her along the way. It is just so hard to have to answer a question so complicated with such a simple answer. I don't want to provide a harsh image of her father, but I know that she needs to know what happened.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 04/28/2014

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I think you can tell her, just very delicately in words that a 7 year old can understand. I grew up knowing that my father was abusive, and my mother had to escape him. It has made me a stronger women, and I have let every person I have dated know that if they raise a hand to me, I am out the door. Only one person has gone after me, and he regretted it.

I would actually speak to someone in the womens abuse field in your area and ask for the words to discuss it with your daughter. You don't want to do it to soon, or say the wrong thing.

Michelle - posted on 04/28/2014

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So, I guess I misrepresented my question. She witnessed domestic violence in front of her and her father is pretty much non existent. She remembers what happened when she was three and I am sure it has scarred her emotionally. I simply asked if it was a good idea to tell her that reason we are not together is because her father was not a nice person to her mother. I sense some hostility in your questions, Jodi, and coming from someone who has JUST entered this forum - I think it wise that you would word your responses a little bit more appropriately. I never implied that I wanted to destroy relationships, I simply asked if there was a better way to word what I was feeling she needed to know, or maybe I should, in fact, wait until she was a little bit older to explain to her that her father was abusive towards me, her, us. I understand that this situation is complicated but it seems to me that she needs a little more that "we didn't get along". At some point, whether it be now or in the future, she will find out that she has a father that probably will never care about his relationship with her. While, in my own opinion, I know she is a smart girl and she will eventually realize this herself, wouldn't she want to know what happened? Thank you or your "encouraging" response.

Jodi - posted on 04/28/2014

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Your 7 year old does not need to know any reasons other than that you weren't happy together. Don't you dare tell her that her father is not a good person. That is her father. She is biologically linked to him, whether he sees her or not, which makes him a part of her. Do you want to destroy your child? Why does she even need to know?

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