I CAN’T TELL HER THE TRUTH ABOUT HER DAD

Woman (UK) - - Ask The Expert -

Through­out our five-year re­la­tion­ship my ex was re­ally nasty to me. When I ended it, af­ter one too many rows in which he be­lit­tled and bul­lied me, it was such a re­lief. We had a daugh­ter, who’s now 10. I’ll give him credit in that he’s al­ways been a good dad and has never mis­treated her. But she some­times wist­fully asks why we parted and hints she’d like us to get back to­gether – at the mo­ment we’re both sin­gle. I re­ally don’t want to crit­i­cise him to her as in many ways he doesn’t de­serve it now. But I want her to be aware of how re­la­tion­ships can go bad and what to do about it.

Suzie says

We need to help our chil­dren to grow up healthy, happy and full of self-es­teem, and un­der­stand­ing re­la­tion­ships and how we treat each other is such a vi­tal part of that. But you are right to re­alise that dis­parag­ing her fa­ther is not the way to do it. What you can and should do is talk to her about how she de­serves to be val­ued and treated with re­spect in her friend­ships and fu­ture re­la­tion­ships. Ask her about the peo­ple who make her feel good and how they do this. Any sort of re­la­tion­ship ed­u­ca­tion isn’t a case of hav­ing ‘The Talk’, but an on­go­ing and nat­u­ral dis­cus­sion with you lis­ten­ing to and prompt­ing her rather than lec­tur­ing her. And you can tell her that her fa­ther’s a good dad – but just not the man for you.

Re­la­tion­ship ed­u­ca­tion is an on­go­ing process of lis­ten­ing and prompt­ing

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