Gransnet forums


How do you explain to 4 and 8 year olds?

(7 Posts)
Bluegal Sun 10-Sep-17 13:06:07


I recently wrote asking for help when two of my GC became so unruly I couldn't cope (their parents are divorced) Got great responses and after making changes in our lives I think we have turned a corner.

Part of the problem was the children's father who (although he doesn't see it that way), is a bully and control freak with no respect for anyone or anything including the law. He made all the decisions in their marriage (even down to furnishings, DD wasn't allowed to choose anything). I would add he didn't show any bullying or abuse to the children as such - it was always directed to their mother and I think the children started to disrespect their mother too (and eventually me also).

After he had walked out - once again - and not returned for a week, My D found the strength to say enough! He didn't think she was serious and by the time he realised she was serious he swore she would never get a penny from him! This he has managed to keep to by lying and squirrelling away money (but that's another story)

Despite it all neither of us wanted to stop the children from seeing their father (to them he was a kind of knight in shining armour, plenty of money to spend on toys and sweets, no rules about bedtime or lectures about teeth cleaning etc etc)

He continued to try to play mind games and control My D by making arrangements to pick up the children and then keeping her waiting for hours or just not turning up, turning up on the wrong day, refusing to bring the children back at a reasonable hour, bringing them home late and not having had their tea, phoning at odd hours to say their clothes weren't clean, or could she buy them some decent clothes, insisting she takes the elder one out of school for a holiday then when she refused telling the elder child her mother was preventing her having the holiday of a lifetime- all these sort of things sound trivial to someone who hasn't been on the end of a controlling person but it was all designed to let her know HE was still in charge.

Eventually, my daughter had a kind of breakdown (she has never been the most confident of people and he knocked it all out of her bit by bit) and I was trying to help get things back on track so I said I would act as mediator and she wouldn't have to deal with him - so him and I arranged times and dates of picking up EXCEPT he started to mess me about also. I asked him to be on time (as I work shift hours also) He would be 2 hours late! I even offered to take them to him! He was so verbally rude to me whenever he didn't get his own way... I couldn't cope either.

I didn't know what to do when he texted me and said he wasn't going to deal with our family any more - inserting a few expletives and accusations about us not wanting him to see his children! He has decided himself he doesn't want to see them until they are old enough to go visit without any of our family. In one way I was kind of relieved as I do feel he is a very bad role model (swears constantly, has dodgy mates, hates institutions like school and police, thinks rules are stupid, and is moody and rude if he doesn't get his own way)

I have the children staying quite often and they keep asking WHEN they are going to see daddy again........

Does anyone have any experience of how to explain to young children in a way that doesn't upset them more or make it sound like daddy has stopped loving them or that we are stopping him from seeing them?

Sorry - if its long - AGAIN sad

MissAdventure Sun 10-Sep-17 13:16:52

I haven't any advice, as I'm sure others may be more able to give good, solid suggestions to you. I just wanted to say how sorry I am that you're all in this situation. flowers

FarNorth Sun 10-Sep-17 13:31:58

The children must have been aware that daddy was letting them down by not coming for them at the times/days he'd said he would?
If so, maybe you could say that daddy's life is very busy and he can't be sure of doing what he's said he will, so has decided not to arrange anything meantime?

He sounds an awful person and best out of the children's lives but I understand why that can't be explained to them.

Could your DD talk to social services about what to do if he decides to make contact again?

flowers to you all.

Bibbity Sun 10-Sep-17 13:44:21

There is a parenting website like this called babycentre. On there there is a completely private board called single parents. Please urge her to sign up ans join. They will help her. But honestly she needs a court order.

The best way to get Thisbe is withold access until he takes her to court.
He is still abusing your daughter and until she has that court order he will continue to do so.

ninathenana Sun 10-Sep-17 18:06:31

I could have written a lot of the op sad
You have my sympathy.

Madgran77 Sun 10-Sep-17 18:14:48

You could say to the children that Daddy loves them but that at the moment he doesn't feel that he can see them. If they ask why say that Daddy wants to see them again when they are older. That is factual and not commenting negatively on Dad, just stating what he has said in a way that they can understand. If they ask why when they are older just say because that is what Daddy has decided that he wants. The point is to make the decision his decision in their minds, without in any way slagging him off! Tell them too that if Daddy asks to see them again that will be fine as far as you are concerned ...then if he does and lets them down, say that it is a pity that Daddy couldn't make it this time....this sounds an awful situation for you and your daughter , much sympathy. flowers

paddyann Sun 10-Sep-17 21:17:30

The older one probably has an idea of whats happening ,they cotton on very quickly ...might be an idea to tell them that daddy's work is very demanding and he cant commit to seeing them until it quietens down,but as soon as he can he'll be in touch with them .Do the children see his side of the family? My daughter got on well with her ex after their divorce but his mother and sisters used to talk about her in front of the children and make it sound like the whole divorce and the problems that caused it were her fault..they weren't, he was sleeping with anything with a pulse.She had to stop them visiting their other granny as they came home and were rude and direspectful to her because they believed what their granny and aunties were saying .