Subject: My teen is asking difficult questions.
Question: Violet is 13, and when she got back from school yesterday, she asked me why she doesn’t have grandparents on her dad’s side.
My husband is estranged from his family, due to some very serious incidents
when he was around 18 years old. His family were psychologically abusive to him, and when he plucked up the courage to stand up to them, they kicked him out and then set out on a 2 year tirade of abuse and harassment. He made many attempts to mend the relationship, but his parents were only concerned with manipulating and abusing him into doing exactly what they told him to do, and because he dared to disagree with them, they tried to make it impossible for him to live without them (he and I were threatened with a gun and attacked numerous times), so in the end he had to make the decision that they were not a part of his life he wanted anymore.
I always knew this day would come, but not so soon.
Violet seemed quite confused and a bit sad when she asked me – apparently they had been talking about families at school, and drawing up ‘family trees’, and the other children had two sets of grandparents. I don’t know how to have this conversation with her? How do I explain why we don’t have contact with these people, without making her more upset?
Thanks in advance,
Answer: Dear Katherine,
Reading your note I can tell you and your husband have wanted only the best for you daughter she is lucky to have you both. Tell her the truth. She is old enough to handle it and it will be good for her to see the difference between how she was raised and how he was raised. Besides she will respect you both for being honest and telling her the truth and she will feel honored that your respect her enough to talk to her like she is mature enough to handle the truth!
M Kay Keller