Absent Father

United States
March 22, 2010 1:23pm CST
I am new here and thought I'd use this venue as a way to seek advice on a situation I'm not sure how to handle. I have two children (ages 6 and 7) whose father I left in 2003 due to domestic abuse. He was absent from then until 2005 and then again from 2006-2008. The reason for his absence was drug use and incarceration. He got out in 2008 and got a job in the oil field. He was clean for a year, but drank quite a bit. Despite the immense amount of money he earned, he did not pay any child support during that time. (Support was set while he was incarcerated at $230/mo for 2 children based on minimum wage.) Eventually, like many others, he lost his job and returned to using drugs. Thankfully, he stayed far away from my children and our home. Unfortunately, once again he dropped out of my children's life. He is now incarcerated (again!) with a case pending for burglary. I have brought him up to them to find out what they are thinking and they simply asked me what they did wrong. I reassured them that they did nothing wrong. I said that their dad had his priorities out of order and he was making bad choices. I explained that making bad choices can hurt people around you and that it was better for their dad not to be around until he can make good choices and be a good dad. I have not told them that he is in jail. My question is should I? Bail is a possibility (although he has been in since Aug 2009 and no one has bailed him out yet). The first time he was in jail, I did not tell them because they were too young and barely knew him. At that time, they were told that he was working far away and he did write letters. I have heard nothing from him this time. Any advice?
1 person likes this
2 responses
• Switzerland
7 Jul 10
Hello Brandi!I am new hear and found your discussion and got interested! Well me, I am also a single parent that's why somehow i feel what you're going through. And for me, maybe for the meantime don't tell them that their father is in jail because even if we explain it to them as clearly as we want, but still they couldn't get it that easily. Maybe when they reach the adolescent stage, you could already tell them the truth behind all the things that had happened.Because at that time, they could somehow understand it the way you want them to understand it. And now is not yet the right time, for me i guess, because their minds are still fresh and they should think of other things first like studies, playing, etc. and not the serious things.Hope this answer would somehow helped you a bit.
1 person likes this
• Philippines
22 Mar 10
Hello Brandi, First of all, it is greatly appreciated that you took time to share your life's obstacles with us here in MyLot. It is always a pleasure to hear and listen from fellow MyLotters who share what they're going through. Anyway, I'm really sorry to hear what happened. To answer your queries though, I believe it is best not to tell your children that their dad is in jail. Your kids are at crucial stages of emotional and moral development and would not be able to comprehend the complexity of things. As a mom I guess it would be good to be the one to break it up to them in a simpler manner which they can understand, but always in a positive way. It would also be a good thing to give and build a good image of their father despite the things he has done. Maybe it'll be good to tell them that their father is away because he's working to be a good dad or something like that. It's always better to leave your kids to think about positive thoughts rather than the blatant truth where their simple, innocent minds have to cope and deal with negativity. Anyway, I do hope things get better for you and your kids. Regards Brandi.