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Question
Posted by: Mommy | 2011-09-19

My husband and daughter

My husband has been imprisoned for the past 12 months due to come back next year, and him and our 7yr daughter who is in grade1 have been very close.
even though he would call her as often as he could she still wanted to see her dad and would ask questions about her father daily.
we finally decided to tell her the truth and i took her to see him, now i''m starting to think that it wasn''t such a good idea to take her there.
she was happy when she saw him but when we left she started crying and i didn''t want to make the situation worst for her, i waited until we got home, but when i touched on the topic she started crying, then i asked her to go and have a nap because she cry''d 3hrs flat.
at knight when we were having dinner i thought i should just ask her how she feels about seing her father and if she would like to go back to that place and she said yes but again started crying.
now both my husband and i are very worried, we think that maybe it will afect her school work and her personality,we are thinking that maybe we should have kept the lie. please tell me how to reach her and if what we did was not a mistake.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Its always sad when one person's choices and behaviours also hurt other people, like your daughter. Its difficult to know how children will react to this sort of situation, but it was probably worth telling her, as there was a real risk that someone else would tell her, and such a long absence would be hard to explain, anyway.
And then she would have had the truth, PLUS knowing that you were both lying to her, making it harder for her to seek comfort from you, or to believe anything else you'd say.
Right now, she's concentrating on feeling sad to find her father in such an unpleasant place. I'm guessing that she may not have been given a gentle explanation of WHY he is there ?
She's probably experiencing rather complicated feelings she can't really explain, even to herself. Remind her she can talk to you about this any time she wants to, and that while it's really sad that dad is in such a place, it happened because of serious mistakes he made, which he won't do again, and that in time he will be back with you. Maybe even start by finding ou what she thinks ( even if you tell them nothing, children usually form their own theories ) - why does she think he's there, and what does she think will happen. Respect her crying, but say that while you understand this has upset her, its also useful for her to talk about it with you rather than only crying.
I don't think you did the wrong thing - letting her find out later that she had been lied to, as well as the truth, would have been worse. Its not likely to damage her in the long term, especially as you are around to support and comfort her.
If her school-work declines a little in the short-term, that shouldn't continue. Explain to her teacher that she has had such an upsetting experience, so the teaher can be supportive. Encourage her, eventually, to see that continuing to do well at school will be a great comfort and pleasure for her dad.

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2
Our users say:
Posted by: ... | 2011-09-20

Why is he locked up....?

Reply to ...
Posted by: cybershrink | 2011-09-19

Its always sad when one person's choices and behaviours also hurt other people, like your daughter. Its difficult to know how children will react to this sort of situation, but it was probably worth telling her, as there was a real risk that someone else would tell her, and such a long absence would be hard to explain, anyway.
And then she would have had the truth, PLUS knowing that you were both lying to her, making it harder for her to seek comfort from you, or to believe anything else you'd say.
Right now, she's concentrating on feeling sad to find her father in such an unpleasant place. I'm guessing that she may not have been given a gentle explanation of WHY he is there ?
She's probably experiencing rather complicated feelings she can't really explain, even to herself. Remind her she can talk to you about this any time she wants to, and that while it's really sad that dad is in such a place, it happened because of serious mistakes he made, which he won't do again, and that in time he will be back with you. Maybe even start by finding ou what she thinks ( even if you tell them nothing, children usually form their own theories ) - why does she think he's there, and what does she think will happen. Respect her crying, but say that while you understand this has upset her, its also useful for her to talk about it with you rather than only crying.
I don't think you did the wrong thing - letting her find out later that she had been lied to, as well as the truth, would have been worse. Its not likely to damage her in the long term, especially as you are around to support and comfort her.
If her school-work declines a little in the short-term, that shouldn't continue. Explain to her teacher that she has had such an upsetting experience, so the teaher can be supportive. Encourage her, eventually, to see that continuing to do well at school will be a great comfort and pleasure for her dad.

Reply to cybershrink

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