Raising a mentally stable child with an unstable Parent isn’t easy. I
was working on my blog one day when Avery (6 ½ years old) was doing her homeschooling. She asked me what I was doing. I just told her I was writing a paper to try to help other kids like her deal with divorce issues. She doesn’t know about my secret blog, of course. That would be too risky and probably inappropriate, but she immediately wanted to help out. I’ve included our conversation below.
“Just go along with everything he says. You might have to fib to him a little bit but it’s okay because it’s the only way he’ll be nice and won’t say you’re doing anything bad, and call you a fibber. It’s kind of hard because you know that fibbing isn’t right.
What if he gets mad?
“Then just… if he just walks away from you, sit there until a while later until you think he forgot, then just walk to where he is. The kitchen, for example, just say “Hi daddy.” The perfect time is half of a half-an-hour later.
If you cry?
He says, ”why are you crying?”
I make up some reason. Not the truth. Sometimes I do, but I sometimes get called a fibber if I tell the truth… if I say the truth when I go back.
What days does he seem to be worse? “Right when I come back. Thursday and Friday (She goes back on Thursday”
Why? “I don’t know.”
How do we get our children to understand that it is not okay to lie when one parent is delusional? I think when he hears something he doesn’t like to hear, that his child loves her mother, for example, something that is perfectly natural and healthy, it is so far from his reality that he just can’t accept it. He can’t understand that his own daughter is an individual and has her own likes/dislikes but sees her as an extension of himself instead.
I explain to her that it is not okay to lie but in her situation with Daddy, if she feels she has to lie, I can understand. I want her to know it is not right but I understand why she is doing it. I myself have been in her shoes. I can’t say that I didn’t lie under the same circumstances at times for my own safety. She has an innate sense that she is not safe with him. She has said many times that he will kill her. I don’t think this is ever anything he’s told her but she’s scared. It’s definitely not anything I’ve said to anyone. However, I can certainly understand her fears. I once thought he might try to kill me. But, of course, the court won’t understand her concerns. It’s not like I can just not send her or she will likely be taken away from me. Then what chance do we have? And for a child to have such fear in their lives (especially coming from their own father) is heartbreaking. And what can I do!? It is so frustrating! I can’t do anything until he’s done something. Call me crazy but, in my opinion, by then it’s too late!
I don’t have the answers. I wish I could find some book for kids in this situation! Opinions? Anyone else have anything that they’ve tried?