Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Secrets to Keep in the Dark

Facts of life NOT to share with your child--during a traumatic time, or any time.

DEAR ABBY: I am 45 and currently going through a divorce. My soon-to-be ex-wife and I have a 14-year-old daughter, "Gina," and I have custody.

Fourteen years ago, when my wife became pregnant with Gina, we had talked about abortion. We even had an appointment scheduled, but on the day of the appointment we decided not to go through with it. I thank God that we did have our child.

Gina knows nothing about any of this, but my future ex has threatened to tell her. My daughter is mature for her age and intelligent, but I feel the time is not right for her to know. Given the situation, I feel she should hear it from me because of the close relationship we have.

Do you agree that the news should wait until the divorce is final and the dust settles, or should I tell her now? -- DADDY WHO CARES

DEAR DADDY: I see no reason your daughter should ever be told that she wasn't planned for and wanted. I cannot think of one single positive thing that being given such news -- by either you or your soon-to-be ex -- would accomplish.

Your wife may be so filled with anger that she is not in her right mind right now. And if she does pour that poison in your daughter's ear, the antidote is to tell Gina that you thank God for her every day and cannot imagine life without her.

Abby and I are in complete agreement on this one. There is no reason to inflict this kind of pain on any child, least of all your OWN, when she's already no doubt suffering in the crossfire of this nasty divorce. This father obviously loves his daughter and wants to protect her, but has gotten so caught up in the details of WHEN and WHOM that he's forgetting the more important question of IF.

I wonder if, unlike "Daddy," Mommy DOES regret her choice to go through with the pregnancy she (they?) didn't want, and resents the life she's tried to live, and the people who have required her to conform to it. If this is the case, her anger and the dissolving marriage are not much of a surprise (wonder who took care of Gina those first 14 years?)...and it's sad that doing what she must have perceived as "the right thing" and living the way she wanted to wound up being so far apart from each other.

But that doesn't make it OK to tell ANYONE, EVER, "You weren't wanted on this earth and your life makes mine miserable." Even if it's true. Not all truths need to come out.

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