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When do you tell your children that their father killed someone?

It happened a long time ago and he has paid his debt to society, but our children are getting older and we have never moved from our home town, where it happened. I dread someone asking them about it at school. So far, we have been lucky and haven't had to deal with it. But, I do try to teach my kids that honesty is the best policy, so I would like to practice what I preach. My husband is a productive and contributing member of society, a great, loving, and nurturing father, who just happened to make terrible decisions in his younger years.

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Asked by Anonymous at 12:46 AM on Oct. 25, 2009 in Relationships

Answers (8)
  • Tough one. How old are the kids? I would roll it up into a speech when they are tweens/teens about consequences & what happens. You can then have your husband express his regrets or what his feeling are about what happened to him.

    Really unsure here though, just a thought.


    Answer by Mel30248 at 12:48 AM on Oct. 25, 2009

  • Wow that is a hard one, really not sure how to answer that. You said this happened along time ago right, have you heard anyone talking about it recently if so then I would go ahead and say something now . For the fact that it would be better coming from you and your dh then someone that doesn't know the full details on why it happened. If you haven't heard anyone talking about it then I would wait and talk to them once they become tweens/teens like Mel30248 said.

    Answer by Jacqalyn at 12:56 AM on Oct. 25, 2009

  • I wish it was that easy. My husband knows what he did was wrong, but lives with no regrets. It is complicated. He was charged with involuntary manslaughter, because he used a weapon that was not registered to him. If it had been his own, he would have only been guilty of self defense. Our children are 5 and 7. My fear is that maybe a friend will not be able to hang out with my own child and perhaps it might slip out, "because your daddy killed someone." I honestly do not know how I would've taken this kind if news as a child. i have always pondered how I would be able to break this news to my children. I have always looked past this issue of their dad, because he has been a kind and gentle man to me since he was released from prison and we got to know eachother.

    Answer by Anonymous at 1:00 AM on Oct. 25, 2009

  • Say something simple right now like sometimes ppl do things that are wrong & there are consequences for them. Keep it simple since they are young & tell them that even mommy & daddy have done things before but dont go into great detail. Tell them that you are always there for them to ask questions & if they ever hear something from someone about their family then they need to come to you to discuss what they heard. If someone does say something to them I would just answer their questions & then handle it with the person who said it to them explaining that your DH did something wrong but he paid his dues & he's shown no violence since & that they dont exactly know the whole story & its very rude to try & taint your childrens views of their daddy, its a family issue not a public issue. This is what I would do or so I think I would do at least!

    Answer by Mel30248 at 1:14 AM on Oct. 25, 2009

  • I would explain to the older one soon that daddy made a mistake and this is what happen trust I have been in this situation and you want to say something before some little kid on the play yard makes fun of one of the kids about there dad being a bad guy and he killed someone. I know as a mother you want to protect the children for as long as possible, Your children will grow up knowing that there's no secrets and that there's nothing but honesty in there home and that they can come to mom and dad when ever they need something. Keep these lines open earlier then later it's a lot easier in the long run.


    Answer by Anonymous at 3:26 AM on Oct. 25, 2009

  • Just because people haven't talked about it in a long time doesn't mean they don't still talk about it once in a while so I'd have to sit them down pretty soon because kids talk in front of their kids and those kids are likely in school/playground with your kids. You really want them to hear his side of it first. Maybe this is a lesson of "sometimes the right thing is still wrong because I forgot one small rule (wasn't registered to hm) and I had to pay a serious price for it. If it was self defense then he's got no reason to feel like he did something wrong and have regrets, unless he started it and then ended up having to defend himself (don't know the circumstances).
    I'd sit them down pretty soon and just say it in the easiest way I could before they hear it from someone else and maybe not tell you they know and be believing the wrong story.

    Answer by lisa_ann_p at 5:29 AM on Oct. 25, 2009

  • So basically it was self defense, but because he used another persons weapon, it was involuntary manslaughter... That's a whole lot different than murder IMO.

    My husband has killed people. It was in combat and the circumstances were different, but he still feels terrible about what he's had to do.

    I agree, for now, keep it simple, and be truthful as they ask questions.

    Answer by Cavalrybaby02 at 9:02 AM on Oct. 25, 2009

  • I'd treat it the same way I would treat "the sex talk." Tell them little bits and pieces now and as they are ready for more detail give them more. Start with the simple "Daddy made a mistake a long time ago- before we met - and he had to make it right before he could be blessed with our beautiful family." Or whatever works for you.

    There is a man in my small town, he is a swell guy and very well liked. When he was younger, he killed a man and he served his time for it. NO ONE brings it up when he or his wife are around, but they do talk about out. His nick name around town is "The Murderer" which is not cool at all I know. I guess my point is that just because you don't hear it, doesn't mean they're not talking about it. Your kids are going to have to learn to trust you and to rise above what others think.


    Answer by beckcorc at 10:39 AM on Oct. 25, 2009

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