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Parenting Issues This forum is for discussing any of the parenting issues involved in your divorce, including parenting of step-children.

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  #1  
Old 05-11-2012, 12:16 PM
billiechic billiechic is offline
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Question Advice about parent providing TMI to child

My daughter and I (almost 6) have a lot of our discussions in the car on the way to/from daycare. In the past month or so she has started to divulge info to me that is not really related to whatever we are talking about. It is always about something that her father has told her.

Every single time she starts out with "mommy, can I tell you something?" And then proceeds to tell me

-daddy told her that one of her relatives (my side) said bad things about daddy on facebook

-mommy called the police on daddy and mommy's boyfriend "got involved"

-daddy said you should pay him for daycare, the judge said so.

this morning she said "i just want to know the truth mom"

Obviously her dad is talking to her a LOT about issues that a child should not be discussing. While all of things have some truth to them, they are his opinion, and he is subjecting her to them. I deliberately did not let my daughter know about the call to the police, our court date last week, and all the issues that are between her dad and I. He has been telling her things about our marriage, and basically relying on her for his emotional support, or worse, deliberately telling her the "bad things" mom does.

This is WRONG! We are on a waiting list for her to get counseling or therapy, but it is going to be 5 months. These are not isolated incidents, and she has been opening up more and more about what her dad tells her. I just dont feel that I can properly respond to her, it will only be reinforcing his behaviour and confuse her more.

We have a mediation date in a few weeks, but I don't want to ruin the chances that we will be able to settle some of this. Does anyone have any suggestions how I can start dealing with this in the meantime? Bringing it up to him will just cause a defense reaction.
  #2  
Old 05-11-2012, 12:29 PM
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cbarker78 cbarker78 is offline
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Oh that really BITES!!!

Do you have anything in writing yet about not talking negatively about the other parent? If so a "gentle and kind" (& carefully worded) email may be in order (?)

In the mean time, lots of hugs and cuddles, and reminders to your dd that you both lover her lots and while mommy and daddy are working this out, she does not have to worry about any of it.... and then distract her with talking about the day she had, or something fun coming up....

My oldest is also 6 (soon to be 7) and they are sponges who pick up on everything!

Best wishes!!
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Old 05-11-2012, 01:08 PM
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Tayken Tayken is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billiechic View Post
My daughter and I (almost 6) have a lot of our discussions in the car on the way to/from daycare. In the past month or so she has started to divulge info to me that is not really related to whatever we are talking about. It is always about something that her father has told her.
Now, it is hard to prove these things and if put into an affidavit I can tell you a judge will not be happy. You may be seen as questioning your child. Also, remember at 6 years old a child will tell you things they think you want to hear. How you react to what are saying may be exciting the child and I hate to be the one to say this... Your child may be playing on your emotions. Not to get anything... Just that they are experimenting and learning. No court will accept statements from a 6 year old. The 6 year old mind is not sophisticated enough to communicate some of the things you are describing.

Remember the child may be hearing things that the other parent didn't intend for them to hear. It isn't because they are saying these things but, they may be hearing it after they go to bed and the other parent thinks they are not in earshot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by billiechic View Post
Every single time she starts out with "mommy, can I tell you something?" And then proceeds to tell me

-daddy told her that one of her relatives (my side) said bad things about daddy on facebook
1. Is it true? Did someone say something negative about the other parent. If it did happen make the person in question take it down and apologize.

2. You should let your daughter know that everything is ok and that she shouldn't worry about it. You can also kindly ask the other parent to be careful what is said. Don't blame the other parent or try to use this as "evidence" to parental alienation. Try to focus on resolving the problem for your daughter and don't come across as instructional in how you state the problem.

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Originally Posted by billiechic View Post
-mommy called the police on daddy and mommy's boyfriend "got involved"
Again, is this is true and did your daughter witness the event and the police? Events involving the police can be psychologically scaring for children.

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Originally Posted by billiechic View Post
-daddy said you should pay him for daycare, the judge said so.
Again, might be something she overheard or said directly. Either way reassure her that everything with her daycare is ok and ask her if she likes going to the daycare and what she does there. Ask her what her favourite thing to do at daycare is... Who her friends are... What she learned. Don't dive into a cross examination of your daughter ever. Your best to address the statement with reassurance that everything with the daycare is fine.
this morning she said "i just want to know the truth mom"

Quote:
Originally Posted by billiechic View Post
Obviously her dad is talking to her a LOT about issues that a child should not be discussing. While all of things have some truth to them, they are his opinion, and he is subjecting her to them.
She may be overhearing coversations with others and counsel that the other parent isn't aware she is hearing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by billiechic View Post
I deliberately did not let my daughter know about the call to the police, our court date last week, and all the issues that are between her dad and I. He has been telling her things about our marriage, and basically relying on her for his emotional support, or worse, deliberately telling her the "bad things" mom does.
Careful with this kind of "belief" of the other parent. Unless you have evidence other than statements made by a 6 year old that you provide through hearsay in court materials... No one may believe you.

You may want to talk to the other parent and just state that your daughter is having some challenges with the separation and should probably talk to a paediatrician or your FP about how to solve the problem for your daughter versus creating more conflict potentially.

I encourage you to be the mature parent and solve the problem for your daughter.

Good Luck!
Tayken

Last edited by Tayken; 05-11-2012 at 01:11 PM.
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Old 05-11-2012, 01:09 PM
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regardless of how "gently" I remind him, he is only going to get angry and retaliate. This has happened before and I can't figure out how to get through to him. I think my daughter has probably even told him herself that she doesn't want to hear it. I know she tells me when I say something mean about anyone (like a bad driver-lol)

I know over time if he continues this he will push her away from him, and the fact that she is telling me likely means she is questioning how much of it is true. But I don't want her to have to deal with this.

Any advice would REALLY be appreciated.
  #5  
Old 05-11-2012, 01:20 PM
billiechic billiechic is offline
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Thank you Tayken.

I assure you that I am not trying to question her, that she is actually bringing these things up. The talk this morning was triggered by me telling her daycamp includes swimming. She then told me about daddy saying I called the police at her swimming lesson. (the police came during the swimming lesson, and until this morning I though she knew nothing about it. I made sure she did not see the police, and I know she did not overhear ANYTHING from myself or my boyfriend.)

And I am not wanting to use this in court. I just want it to stop.
We are waiting for an appointment with both a pediatrician, and a pychiatrist. I think your suggestion of calling my EAP is great...I will do that tonight!

As for taking it to court, I called CAS last time my child reported to me that dad was hitting her in the face. I do beleive my daughter, but I've learned that NOBODY in the legal process will believe me, and that if she changes her story, it doesn't matter. Our family doctor is the only professional who is willing to look into it, and so I am following his suggestions for therapy. He is the only one willing to put his neck out to make sure my kid is not being hit, or being "emotionally leaned on" by her father. The rest are too busy keeping their noses clean to actually DO THEIR JOBS and investigate.
  #6  
Old 05-11-2012, 02:32 PM
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Tayken - I disagree..... *some* 6 year olds are more than capable of telling the truth and not making things up like this.... even by your own comment "The 6 year old mind is not sophisticated enough to communicate some of the things you are describing." would make sense that they are repeating what they hear and not making it up.... ((gawd knows they love to parrot things))

I agree that these things have to be treated very gently.... as the parent hearing it, your first natural reaction may be shock/anger, but we can't show these..... I equate this to when my daughter swore for the first time. You don't want to give them a big reaction because they will then continue to use it to get that reaction. Rather I asked her where she had heard it, and how it had been used. That opened up a conversation about how older kids or adults may use different words than younger kids ((specifically not "little kids"))... and we spoke about how it's not nice hearing these things, so if we don't want someone saying it to us then we shouldn't say it to someone else.... and so on. The point is that it was an opening to have a discussion - not interrogation, not a lecture - to create a learning opportunity....

In this case, counselling to help her daughter deal with it really sounds like the best option. If ex won't take any sort of responsibility then there really is little she can do. The nice part at that age though is that distraction still works beautifully!!

I feel very strongly that it is really important to listen to our children, try to understand them, let them know that we trust what they say - no matter the age..... I remember from my own experience over-hearing once too often "oh she's just a kid, she doesn't know what she's talking about..." and it stung so much that I just stopped seeking help, and stopped talking to certain family. What they didn't realize was how deeply I was hurting because they wouldn't take me seriously...... While we don't need to speak to them, or treat them like adults, just validating their comments, feelings, and emotions is a very strong way to build trust!!
  #7  
Old 05-11-2012, 02:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cbarker78 View Post
While we don't need to speak to them, or treat them like adults, just validating their comments, feelings, and emotions is a very strong way to build trust!!
Yes, this is exactly what I want to do. She has feelings, and needs to talk about them with someone. But she is betraying her father (or feels she is) to talk to me.

My daughter is not quite 6, but she is a smart cookie, very observant and is quiteable to figure things out on her own. I'm not surprised that she is asking for "the truth", given that she has decided she wants to be an inventor when she grows up!
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Old 05-11-2012, 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by billiechic View Post
regardless of how "gently" I remind him, he is only going to get angry and retaliate. This has happened before and I can't figure out how to get through to him. I think my daughter has probably even told him herself that she doesn't want to hear it. I know she tells me when I say something mean about anyone (like a bad driver-lol)
You can be gentle and firm on your position at the same time. It takes a lot of effort to write these kinds of communications. Just make sure you communicate what needs to be said. If he disregards it and/or responds negatively it further demonstrates you are in fact the mature parent. It sucks but, your daughter will really appreaciate you for doing it in the long run.

You can't "save" the other parent from themselves but, you can make an effort to make sure your daughter isn't being exposed to things she shouldn't be.

Yes, it is hard to do. Yes, it sucks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by billiechic View Post
I know over time if he continues this he will push her away from him, and the fact that she is telling me likely means she is questioning how much of it is true. But I don't want her to have to deal with this.
Well, this could form part of your concern... Your concern for his relationship with your daughter. You seem to demonstrate some concern for the impact it will have on him and your daughter... Both parents are important in your child's life. Your child needs you both.

Child forward thinking... It really sucks to have to deal with a high conflict parent but, some times... You have to.

Quote:
Originally Posted by billiechic View Post
Any advice would REALLY be appreciated.
BIFF / E.A.R. it... (Search BIFF and E.A.R. on Google.) They are great communications strategies for dealing with highly conflicted people.

You are faced with a very difficult challenge.
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Old 05-11-2012, 03:24 PM
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Originally Posted by cbarker78 View Post
Tayken - I disagree..... *some* 6 year olds are more than capable of telling the truth and not making things up like this.... even by your own comment "The 6 year old mind is not sophisticated enough to communicate some of the things you are describing." would make sense that they are repeating what they hear and not making it up.... ((gawd knows they love to parrot things))
I can only offer the advice seen in continuing records and from custody and access evaluators about statements from a 6 year old at the time of separation. Remember they may be saying things with a hope that their parents get back together. Also, parents want to hear what they want... A third party clinician would have to be involved to understand "the voice of the child" in these matters. (Google "Voice of the Child".)

I am not saying "don't listen to the child" but... Listen with the child's ears and not your adult ears. Also, have someone else listen to the child who is not emotionally involved in the matter listen and provide their feedback.

Furthermore there are all sorts of childhood psychological factors that impact children in these situation. A careful analysis from a clinician with the child and a view to resolving the problems is key.

Good Luck!
Tayken
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Old 05-11-2012, 03:31 PM
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Thank you Tayken.

I assure you that I am not trying to question her, that she is actually bringing these things up.
Not projecting blame... Just providing you how the evidence may be responded to if put into an affidavit that is all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by billiechic View Post
The talk this morning was triggered by me telling her daycamp includes swimming. She then told me about daddy saying I called the police at her swimming lesson. (the police came during the swimming lesson, and until this morning I though she knew nothing about it. I made sure she did not see the police, and I know she did not overhear ANYTHING from myself or my boyfriend.)
Unfortunate for the child to know this. Hopefully the involvement of the police was necessary. Were charges laid?

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Originally Posted by billiechic View Post
And I am not wanting to use this in court. I just want it to stop. We are waiting for an appointment with both a pediatrician, and a pychiatrist. I think your suggestion of calling my EAP is great...I will do that tonight!
It wasn't me who recommended the EAP but, that is an excellent recommendation (whoever made it!) and I often forget to mention many employers have EAP services that can be used!

Quote:
Originally Posted by billiechic View Post
As for taking it to court, I called CAS last time my child reported to me that dad was hitting her in the face. I do beleive my daughter, but I've learned that NOBODY in the legal process will believe me, and that if she changes her story, it doesn't matter.
CAS really deals with very extreme cases of maltreatment and neglect and abuse. They are not able to help (possibly due to case load?) with a lot of issues.

Quote:
Originally Posted by billiechic View Post
Our family doctor is the only professional who is willing to look into it, and so I am following his suggestions for therapy. He is the only one willing to put his neck out to make sure my kid is not being hit, or being "emotionally leaned on" by her father. The rest are too busy keeping their noses clean to actually DO THEIR JOBS and investigate.
You have identified a very big problem. The disconnect between the health care system and family law. There needs to be better integration and clinical investigations with a view to help the entire family... Moms, dads and children. Families are important and we should invest in them and insure they are healthy and happy.

Good Luck!
Tayken
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