Background... Left abusive relationship 7 years ago. Children (both boys) were 7 & 11 at the time. Now 14 & 18.
At the time we split the eldest son was aware of elements of the abusive relationship between myself and his Dad. The youngest not at all.
Both boys continued a relationship with him which I encouraged as the boys wanted it and apart from his moodiness they seemed to get along with him fine. He was pretty difficult towards me at times and I tried to keep my feelings about him away from the kids. After a couple of years my relationship with my ex became pretty much silent apart from making child arrangements through text and email and finally through the boys.
I''ve since remarried. Unfortunately my husband knows too much detail about the abuse in my previous marriage and finds it difficult to deal with the ex. When my texts are ignored and the ex doesn''t pay us child support
, it just fuels his negative feelings towards him. Occasionally he makes this clear verbally. I have asked him not to as it''s not nice for the kids to hear but he sometimes struggles with it.
18 months ago when eldest was 16 he came to me and told me he didn''t want to see his Dad anymore, that he was being physically and emotionally abused. So he stopped and I stopped younger from seeing him too.
After 3 months youngest said he wanted to see his Dad, that he had suffered no abuse and wanted to give him another chance. I was proud of him but a little fearful too. He know sees his Dad every other weekend, arrangements made through him. He is now 14.
He gets upset if anyone shows any negatively towards his Dad. He doesn''t understand why his Dad''s own sister doesn''t like him, why my husband sometimes expresses anger, why I get frustrated with his lack of contact
. He probably doesn''t fully believe about his older brother''s experience of abuse, as his Dad has probably told him his side if the story and manipulated it to make himself the victim.
My son tells stories of friends at school
with horrible Dads who say mean things to their kids and push them around. The rest of us just don''t know what to say to him as he is describing his own Dad. But he hasn''t experienced it so he says.
It''s driving a bit of a wedge between the two boys
Do I sit down and tell him calmly why people feel the way they do about his Dad and that sometimes their feelings about his behaviour are so strong it''s hard to contain it. We will try to keep our feelings about him to ourselves but he needs to understand it doesn''t change the way people feel. We respect his right to see his Dad but it doesn''t make us happy about it.
He tells me that when he talks about his Dad that I just don''t really respond and look at him like he''s a little kid and he isn''t a kid anymore.
Should I tell him the facts as to how we all got in this situation but that we respect his decision to continue his relationship?
Children love their parents unconditionally and you telling him how you, and other people, feel about his Dad is more likely to make him feel negative about you than his Dad.
I know when my Mother used to bad mouth our Father (who wasn''t abusive but wasn''t exactly the best Father in the World) myself and my siblings didn''t like it. It was even pointed out once, in a hurtful moment of truth, that she chose him to be our Father not us.