Wednesday, March 4, 2009

X Chronicles continued

I mentioned the other day that the girls' father has not called in some time. At first, Sylvia did not want me to call him and bug him about it, but the other day, it became apparent that I simply had to for her sake. I told her I would tell him it was against her wishes, but that I was doing it anyway because she's my little girl, and I don't like it when anyone hurts her.

I called X at his parents' house and found out he's no longer living there. He's done more damage to the people that love him, and he's not welcome there anymore.

Last night, I had a PTA committee meeting so I picked the girls up pretty late at my parents' house and we talked on the way home.

I've learned, through all my past experiences, that honesty is really the best way to go when it comes to talking to the girls about their father. I told them that no one really knows where he is right now, and that I don't know if there will ever be a situation where it's safe for them to see their dad.

Sylvia cried, but she didn't disagree. She's come a long way. She no longer defends her father, but it doesn't change the fact that it hurts her. She still finds it hard to admit that she's angry at him.

I asked her if she wanted to go to the feelings doctor again, and she said yes. We also talked about her going to see her counselor at school today so she may do that. Riley also wants to go to the feelings doctor, but really, I think she just likes the play therapy. Okay by me. Can't hurt.

Riley takes all of this differently than her older sister. She has no trouble getting in touch with her anger at her dad. Whether or not she ever sees or talks to him again, he long ago lost his opportunity to be the person that she would ever turn to in a time of need.

Jessica Gottlieb
found a study that states that fathers that engage in high-levels of anti-social behavior can actually cause more harm to their children the more they are around them. The abstract ends with "Marriage may not be the answer to the problems faced by some children living in single-parent families unless their fathers can become reliable sources of emotional and economic support."*

Now, we all know this is something I've been saying for a long time, but the past 24 hours have made me consider whether it's really better for the girls if they never see their father again. However, as I told Sylvia, we're not deciding forever right now. We just continue to take these things as they happen. I don't know any other way.

*Life With (or Without) Father: The Benefits of Living With Two Biological Parents Depend on the Father's Antisocial Behavior
Jaffee, Sara R.; Moffitt, Terrie E.; Caspi, Avshalom; Taylor, Alan
Child Development, v74 n1 p109-26 Jan-Feb 2003

20 comments:

Mark said...

As a Mom you are doing wonderful! Your children are so very blessed.

Kori said...

You know how I feel about the issue; LOVE you.

Natalie said...

You know I think you are making the right decision. If he wants back in, he needs to prove he's changed his ways. Kudos for both of your girl's for being as strong as they are (and to you, mama bear).

Prefers Her Fantasy Life said...

You're wise to consider the possibility but not decide anything "forever" right now. And kudos for getting your kids the feelings help that they need.

BTW, I tried to comment on your LA Moms post (about the PTA) awhile back. Well done!

FreedomFirst said...

I'm so sorry for your daughters that they have to go through this.

MindyMom said...

I think you handled the situation perfectly. And I bet the article is an interesting read. I think many in our situation wonder; is a bad dad better than no dad? Definitely debatable.

Tara R. said...

I am so sorry your girls have to deal with this, and at such young ages. I admire how you are dealing with this.

won said...

The feelings doctor...

hmm...

Love it!

What a beautiful way to put it. How thoughtful.

BusyDad said...

My take? If you don't care enough about your children to even do the bare minimum to make them feel safe and secure, you're better off erased. The "maybe he's a nice guy" uncertainty is much better than the validation that "he's a crap dad."

Karen MEG said...

Oh April, this is so tough for your girls (and not to mention you, for having to deal with the situation)... they are lucky to have a strong, wonderful mom like you; it would be so easy wouldn't it, just to say "scrap it, better just to write it all off, not worth the emotional hassle"... but taking the cue from the girls is the responsible way... I can't believe I'm saying that, but he is still their Dad, and IMHO, for what it's worth, I think kids would still rather have a Dad, even a lame one who disappears from time to time, than not.

Huckdoll said...

"...we're not deciding forever right now."

I loved this. You're an amazing woman.

Single Mom Seeking said...

First, thanks for all of your honest, thoughtful comments on my blogs.

Second, how have I NOT read you before? Look what I've been missing!

You sound like an amazing mama. Good for you for letting your girls feel their feelings.

I'm adding you to my Link Page now!!

Kori said...

Clearly, Karen, you have no idea what damage it does to children to have a dad who is inconsistent, in jail more often than not, and shows a callous disregard for the feelings and well-being of his children. In my opinion, just having testicles does not a father make, and in this instance, in MOST instances, fathers like this have willingly-WILLINGLY-given up their fucking "rights." Please.

Jeff said...

Your stories about your x break my heart. You're doing an awesome job with your daughters. Keep up the good work.

Suzie said...

IM so sorry that is going on

Dingo said...

So, does the wisdom gene come after you have the babies or is it in the grocery store next to the formula? You are doing such a great job. I don't know if I'd be able to be as rational, compassionate, and strong as you are if I were in your shoes.

Hahn at Home said...

Hey, I just had an idea. Tape these conversations with the kids and file them away. Log all the no-shows and failures on dad's part in detail. Then, when you decide what you want to do you will have the ammo to back it up - including those tapes which show both sides of your conversation so they know you aren't leading the witness and undermining the relationship with the X which is what his lawyer will immediately go for. But, maybe you already do all that - anyway, he's a dick and I am sorry the kids have to go through that.

LaskiGal said...

I get it . . . I do. Even with my "married" parents, I often wonder what it would have been like if my mom and dad just split (their "staying together for the children" was a disastrous crock). My older half siblings say that NOT having my dad in their lives was probably more healthy for them than had he been in and out or there but NOT there (as he was for the majority of our lives).

It is a tough, tough call. I only wish you the best. And, can I say that "we're not deciding forever right now. We just continue to take these things as they happen" makes total sense.

Mama Smurf said...

My heart is breaking for your little girls. They're lucky to have a wonderful mom with a great head on her shoulders to love and protect them.

Karissa said...

This hurts me because I was once that little girl. There was at least a year in my early teens when my dad was suffering from his addiction and couldn't be a good dad to us.

However he did get help and I ended up living with him for most of my high school years. Then we didn't speak again for awhile and we worked it all out in my mid-twenties.

There was a lot of hurt and anger in our lives but for the most part we were able to work it out. My dad is now one of my best friends, and someone I call on when I need him, and he responds. This gives me hope that others can work out their stuff with their dysfunctional parents as well.