Wait until children are older to explain reason for mom's absence
parenting Q: My wife met someone on the Internet and has visited him several times. We have two small children. The guy lives in another state, and she has pretty much left us for him. What do I say to my children when they ask about their mom? *...
Q: My wife met someone on the Internet and has visited him several times. We have two small children. The guy lives in another state, and she has pretty much left us for him. What do I say to my children when they ask about their mom?
* Each time that they bring her up, pretend you did not hear the question and talk about something else. When they are old enough to understand, lay it on the line and let them draw their own conclusions. -- P.Y. in Nashville, Tenn.
* This happened in our family but the mom, who is my sister, kept changing her mind. One month, she would be home and be a loving mom and wife who seemed perfectly happy. The next, she was meeting some guy in person that she had met online two days earlier. She was confused to say the least and her sudden change in mood and perspective on life, or whatever was causing the odd behavior, kept everyone in the family just as confused. Finally, my mom told my brother-in-law to grow some hair on his chest and not let her come back home if she left again. After the sixth or seventh time, he managed to follow my mom's advice.
It was an experience I hope I never have to endure again with anyone, especially a relative. We have no idea where she is, what she is doing or who she is living with. It's been three years now and my brother-in-law told their three kids as little as possible about the situation. As they get older, fewer questions come up. When he does have to discuss the situation, he tries to explain a little more to them the best way he can. It has worked so far, but who knows what they understand or what they will want to know in the future. -- J.T. in Plano, Texas
You'll have to use some personal judgment as to what your kids will be able to believe or process emotionally. If your children are younger than 5, you might be able to get away with, "Mommy's on vacation," for the time being, and then quickly change the subject. You can tell them the truth once they are old enough to understand.
Remember, as hard as it may be, try not to show your disappointment or bitterness toward your wife when the kids ask questions. Especially do not lash out at them or to anyone else in front of them. Seek the help of a counselor or therapist so you might be able to understand how to best deal with the situation. Focus on your kids in a positive manner and try to live an emotionally healthy life for yourself and your kids.
CAN YOU HELP?
My granddaughters are 15 and 17 and both want to have cosmetic surgery. Their parents think that this is perfectly fine and see nothing wrong with it. The only reason that they thought of it is because "their friends are all doing it." I think it is horrible! This is not even the end of their requests; both want a boob job in a few years! I am very disappointed, but they say I'm too old fashioned. If there are medical doctors who are performing unnecessary surgeries on young girls and making it a popularity contest promising glamour and glitz, they should be ashamed! Am I wrong? Should I voice my two-cents?
JODIE LYNN is a parent educator, author and mom. Write to: Parent to Parent, 2464 Taylor Road, Suite 131, Wildwood, Mo. 63040, or e-mail through the contact form on Jodie Lynn's Web site: www.parenttoparent.com .