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What to say to your kids about abuse
September 19, 2005
10:44 am
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gofigure
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Oh, so much going on inside that I may (who knows??) be posting a bunch of threads. I can also work in only little increments.

My husband and I went (seperately) into rehab almost 7 years ago. Prior to that, there was some abuse (lots of emotional battery and some "mild" physical abuse) that my daughters witnessed (they were 2 & 3 when we went to treatment). My oldest who is now nearly 11 remembers a fair amount, but my 9 year old doesn't so much. My 9 yr old LOVES the song "Fast Car" by Tracy Chapman, but it makes my 10 year old cry. When my youngest saw her sister was crying she wanted to know wyhy and was told it reminds her of when daddy used to drink. My 9 year old was furious, saying dad never did any of that, he always paid attention to us etc etc. But yesterday she was asking what it was that made her sister cry and what had happened, what are some of the things dad did to you, etc. I am at a complete loss as to what to say to her. I don't want to say anything bad about her dad, but at the same time I don't want to flat out lie to her. Should I say something to the effect that sometimes when people (alcoholics) drink, they get angry about things that wouldn't normally make them angry and do things out of anger that they wouldn't normally do? And if she asks for a more specific explanation? Stupid thin line to tread!

September 19, 2005
10:49 am
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StronginHim77
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Tell her the truth about alcoholism: that it is a sickness which can make good people do bad things, including becoming mean and angry. You can "edit" the presentation, so that it is age-appropriate. If you are unsure how to proceed, the local chapter of Al-Anon would certainly have someone who would give you additional suggestions. But don't try to lie or "deny" the struggles of the older child to the younger. That would be hurting the older child whose memories and feelings are totally valid. In fact the older child might benefit from therapy. Have you been able to obtain therapy for her?

September 19, 2005
11:00 am
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gofigure
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She was in therapy a while back, but then we lost our insurance. I recently got insurance for the family through my work and will look into counseling for probably both of them--thank you for that suggestion. I suspect my youngest has some issues that are a little more hidden, simply by virtue of her age at the time. I know, even if she doesn't remember specific incidents as my oldest does, she DOES have some "memory" of things being "wrong", but they're more shadow memories rather than concrete ones. Thank you strong--sometimes I dwell so much on my own issues I forget that my children need some healing too.
~go

September 19, 2005
12:27 pm
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SUSIE BABY
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speaking from experence,tell her the truth(on her level). my girl's were 9 and 4 when i left their dad( emotional and phy. abuse). my middle child could'nt remember her childhood,then one day, 20 YEAR'S LATER,she stopped by a girl friend's house,as she was walking up to the door,she could hear her friend screaming,she ran in the house,only to see the girl's boy friend BEATING her up. my daughter tell's me,it wasn't realy her friend she saw, IT WAS ME BEING BEATEN BY HER DAD. for the first time, she remembered her childhood. yes, we spoke of it, SHE chose to BLOCK it out,then,when she saw her friend,it opened the flood gate's. this was at the top part of the year,she's come so far,it has for ever changed her(for the good).your little one may not even know what she has stored up.be open,and honest. this can be done with out knocking dad, KEEP THE FAITH,GOOD LUCK,SUSAN

September 19, 2005
12:49 pm
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Lass
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Be careful here if you fear a custody battle. The worst ones are from abusers, mounting an all out offensive....

Best to let a counselour be present when this talk is done, otherwise it can become grounds for "poison parenting" or"parental alienation."

A good abuser will even lie, and tape the kids with coached remarks...you have no idea what kind of crap I went through with my ex to learn this.

September 20, 2005
10:20 am
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columbia
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I would like to hear more of this thread. I have been the child and the mother. My brother didn't experience the depth of the problems I witnessed. I grew up and married an abuser. After my divorce and breakup my brother was not supportive and my kids felt I put them through hell.( Although their father did, I more likely accompanied them through hell.)

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