Saturday, March 21, 2015

Talking To Your Child Regarding Their Parent's Poor Choices: 5 Tips

“Help Sign” by nongpimmy via

March 20th, 2015 

names have been omitted in this post 


It was a late Friday afternoon… I'd just picked up my daughter from school and as we made our way through sheets of March rain, the windshield wipers swiped back and forth, the sound of water rushing on either side of the SUV's tires. Water was quickly beginning to flood the streets and yet I pressed forward with caution trying to avoid the worst spots that were pooling in the right lane we were in.

From the backseat my daughter was in the midst of telling me about her week spent at her dad's house with her brother. As she spoke I felt dread rising up in me. These conversations were of situations I never thought for a second my children would be experiencing one day when I decided to have a family.

"… Mommy, this woman that Daddy picked up from the airport, she stayed at our house. She's from London, so she had an accent. And she slept in Daddy's bed!"

"Uh, huh…" I murmured, sick of hearing how once again he was setting a simply stellar example for our two children. I sighed, sitting at the red light waiting for it to change so we could continue.

The radio played softly…

… Yeah I want to feel the sunshine
Shining down on me and you
When you put your arms around me
You let me know there's nothing in this world I can't do
I used to run in circles going nowhere fast
I'd take one step forward and took two steps back
I couldn't walk a straight line even if I wanted to
I want to love somebody, love somebody like you
Oh here we go now, ooo, yeah,
Hey I want to love ya baby,
Oh oh, oh oh ...

Read more: Keith Urban - Somebody Like You Lyrics | MetroLyrics 

I thought to myself… 

"But you won't believe this!" She continued, "He tells me she has a three year old daughter. So I was like "Well, then where is her daughter if she's here? I mean, who is watching her kid?" And he tells me "I guess her husband." "

I nearly shriek, 
my hands griping the wheel. 
Green light
 I hit the gas and I glance 
in the rearview mirror. 
She nods at me with affirmation.

"I DON'T KNOW WHAT ON EARTH IS GOING ON BUT HE'S LOST HIS MIND!!!! I thought to myself… This is NOT moral behavior! This is NOT acceptable! His behavior is out of control! THIS IS JUST RIDICULOUS!!!! It was like the whole world had gone mad, like I had hopped down the rabbit hole and I was Alice wondering what everyone else had had to drink. 

Pulling over to the bank parking lot I slip into a spot and sit.
I was suddenly too tired to go in and make my deposit.

The wipers go back and forth, rain continuing to come down hard. Dressed in gray skinny jeans, boots, jean jacket, and a now wrinkled white shirt that I'd turned back the sleeves on, I rest my forearms on the taupe leather steering wheel, leaning in and put my head down and weep. I cannot believe this is my children's childhood. All this mess. All this nonsense. Would it ever stop? He had zero control… no, strike that… he CHOSE to have zero control over his physical urges. Tears slipped out and silence engulfed us as I wept. It was bad enough he had cheated, it was bad enough he'd continued to parade his sex life around our children during and post divorce with women who were single… but now this? A married woman? It seemed there was nothing off limits. It was bad enough that he chose this path on his own time, at his own discretion, but in front of our children? That was what upset me. It was sickening for any parent, man or woman to have to witness the effects of these actions on their child time and time again… thinking that this is moral behavior for an adult in their life. 

Hurt for my children struck my heart and as Keith Urban sung his country melody, his voiced wafting through the vehicle, I just wanted someone to hold me. Two strong arms to melt into and someone to say "I'm here." I wanted a person to not attempt to fix something they couldn't, but just say:

"This sucks. I'm here. I'm not going anywhere." 

Maybe that's what I needed to tell my daughter. So I began telling her what I myself needed to hear. That yes, baby, this sucks but we are trying to get through it the best we can and you know what? I am here, I'm not going anywhere. And that God was too. I thought to myself, This is all so out of control… I don't even KNOW what to pray for anymore! God, I just pray for whatever you see fit! Just whatever this needs please intervene! 

Sometimes our prayers in the pit of despair are comparable to throwing up our arms and simply asking for whatever intervention is needed. God always knows what is needed, what can be seen through the fogginess of a circumstance because He is all knowing... nothing is too big for Him to handle, for He can create change, He can turn tables, He can calm troubled waters in an instant, He can do anything at all... we just need faith no matter how small. 

© ~ 2015 

When your burdens seem big as mountains and you find yourself wondering what on earth to pray for, take heart in knowing you are not alone… the truth is God already knows when we need comfort and interceding. Romans 8:26-27 promises us that we will helped when we are filled with weakness and despair, when we don't even know where to begin in our prayers. All we need to do when we are at a loss of words is ask that God hear our groans, our unspoken cries. 

Romans 8:26

New International Version (NIV)

26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.

5 Tips In Talking To Your Child
About Their Parent's Poor Behavior: 

1. Be honest with them. If a child asks about a parents behavior, whatever it may be, don't lie. It sets a terrible example and only serves to set enabler-type behavior by covering for the other parent. Explain simply the amount of information that is age appropriate and that is acceptable to share. 

2. Acknowledge the fact that the behavior is negatively affecting everyone and that the child has every right to be angry, sad, disappointed about it. Remind your child that they always have you to talk to about it when needed and they are NOT alone. 

3. Encourage your child that they can pray for the person but that it's also important that they practice self care; they can journal when/if they are struggling. 

4. Remind your child that yes, all families have problems, that there is no perfect family. However, also stress the severity of how the parent's behavior does impact all family members. 

5. Affirm to the child that the parent's behavior is NOT their fault. They didn't cause it nor is it their job to take on the responsibility of the parent getting their act together. 

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