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Is it appropriate for a father to tell his 9 yr old daughter that he has been arrested ("but don't tell anyone"!) OR that the child's mother had "other boyfriends" during their marriage?

My (adopted) daughter has had no contact with her biological mother in nearly 5 years. A few nights ago her natural curiousity brought her to ask me "What was my bio mom like?" To sum up, her bio mom was a lying drug addict w/ a history of violence who'd been to jail, favored "partying" over seeing her children & lived off the state. Not wanting to be THAT honest, I simply said "Although your Bio Mom has her share of problems I give her credit for knowing that her children would be safer in another home and for allowing other families to raise her children." I then asked the child's father to answer the question since bio Mom is his Ex.He proceeded to tell our 9 yr old daughter how the bio mom had "like 10" other boyfriends while they were married and told her about 2 times he was arrested (and for what) and then said "and you'd better not repeat this or I'll make you look like a liar and I'll deny saying it!"
Your thoughts?

Answer Question

Asked by AbbyJada at 10:30 AM on Jun. 9, 2010 in General Parenting

Level 3 (22 Credits)
Answers (10)
  • Some people just don't know how to talk to children. It is not appropriate. Your daughter's mother sounds like my son's mother. Her family felt the need to tell my son that his mommy was under the ground in a box because she died. They allowed him to see her being arrested. So far he hasn't been too curious. I will probably tell him the samething you told your daughter and hubby will tell him the same as me. When he is older he will probably learn the nitty gritty of it all, if he is interested.

    Answer by matthewscandi at 10:47 AM on Jun. 9, 2010

  • Her bio father is your dh? What he said was certainly inappropriate and too hard for a child to process. Hurtful words like that can be internalized by children and they think they will grow up to be "just like mom". It's terrible for her self esteem. What a horrible thing for that little girl. Dad needs to keep his mouth shut. My mom used to say if you can't say anything positive don't say anything. I just don't know why he would be so cruel to the little girl. She will never forget his words. He was so wrong.

    Answer by admckenzie at 10:50 AM on Jun. 9, 2010

  • first your answer was perfect! kudos to u xo, his answer not so much. she is 9 not 21. even if she acts older then 9 she isent. he shoulve just said what u said. or least close to what u said. if anything i would say u will learn more about bio mom when the time is right.. my dd is 13 now and would ask me questions about her dad who is around and i would be nice and say we just fought alot. ( i would never say yeah ur dad slept w/ my bestfriend or that i found out he did coke. or one night he beat me up because he was drunk ) all she needs to know is hunny sometimes things dont work out. my x decided of corse to say.. mom found a boyfriend and now hes ur stapfather... that wasent the case we were way done before hand. so needless to say my x got a call from me. asking him to smarten up she was also 9 at the time when this happend. maybe ur 9 yr old needs to sit down w/ her dad and have a nice talk no neg talk yet.

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:51 AM on Jun. 9, 2010

  • My thoughts are wow, why are you with this guy? I'll make you look like a liar? To his nine-year-old daughter? Woah.

    Answer by Bellarose0212 at 10:54 AM on Jun. 9, 2010

  • I agree Bellarose0212......OP< why are you with this guy? He isn't even smart enough to realize that you DON'T discuss things like that with a chid and you DON'T threaten her with words such as "If you repeat this I will say you are a liar". I suggest family counseling...or at least counseling for HIM. Holy cow......

    Answer by Anonymous at 12:51 PM on Jun. 9, 2010

  • Sounds like a Heck of a father that probably matched her mom !!! wow! good pick! I am sure she will have some wonderful issues to tell the shrink later.. I think go ahead and tell her what her mom was like if you have a father talking to you like that..

    Answer by Anonymous at 1:44 PM on Jun. 9, 2010

  • Um he doesn't seem like the brightest candle on the cake, sorry but I agree...what is the attraction to him? I KNOW this was NOT a developmentally appropriate conversation for him to have with a 9 yr old.


    Answer by salexander at 1:44 PM on Jun. 9, 2010

  • Hi guys, thanks for your input. Actually he and I have indeed split up (for many reasons in addition to this specific incident. Although this incident happened only a few days ago). I didn't mention it simply because I think it makes the story too confusing and I was limited in characters on the original question. ADMCKENZIE, that was my original thought: as her hormones kick in she'll conveniently excuse her behavior by claiming she's "just like Mom". He even went so far as to tell our daughter that he has been left with massive "trust issues" because of the way her bio mom treated him when they were together. Now admittedly, that IS true but you tell your NINE YEAR OLD this? Naturally, my daughter began questioning him "Well do you trust Mommy?" (meaning me) and indeed he was honest and replied "Well, like I said, I don't trust anyone. Except you" (meaning my daughter). She asked him "Do u trust your boss?" (..cont'd below)

    Answer by AbbyJada at 12:50 PM on Jun. 10, 2010

  • And he said "Well, to SOME extent but that's about it." Then he told her to make sure you really KNOW someone before become involved with them. And in the very next breath he tells her he was with her mother for almost 6 years before she was born. So what's THAT say to her? "My dad knew my mom for 6 years, decided to have a baby and THEN suddenly realized he'd been lied to and cheated on for all that time?" Its not like it was 6 months, people. Ya know what I'm saying? That just seems like bad judgement from the get-go if you ask me! So what message exactly did the 9-yr-old take away from that conversation? Lord knows.
    Sad thing, is that I know if I bring this up to him he'll just defend it claiming "My daughter deserves to know the truth!" and no words will convince him that 9 is too young for that much detail. And even if a counselor told him it was inappropriate, he'd poo-poo it all saying ... (cont'd)

    Answer by AbbyJada at 12:57 PM on Jun. 10, 2010

  • "Yep, because I'M ALWAYS WRONG! I just wanna be honest with my daughter but I'M THE ONE WHO'S WRONG!" Its truly a losing battle. I guess I should be thankful he hasn't told her yet that the bio mom was a drug addict too. At least he's left SOMETHING out (as far as I know anyhow).
    I am all for honesty expecially between parent and child but there is such a thing as being TOO honest TOO soon with kids. When my daughter asked me that night about her bio mom, I stopped a moment to think of a positive story I could tell her. She asked "Are you trying to think of a story you can tell me thats appropriate for my age?" So I *have* told her in the past that there will be stories she can hear when she's older, just not yet (until her father let the cat outta the bag that is).
    So again thanks to you all for taking the time to reply. Any suggestions on what I might say to 'soften' what he said to her? Or just leave it alone?

    Answer by AbbyJada at 1:13 PM on Jun. 10, 2010

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