I CAN’T TELL HER THE TRUTH ABOUT HER DAD
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.
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