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Topic Children and feelings Go to previous topic Go to next topic Go to higher level

By lurkingforacure On 2013.04.12 09:09
Oh my, what a couple of weeks/months we have had. I feel like my family is falling apart no matter what I do. My kids are really struggling. I've watched as my husband has interacted with our kids, they don't understand him, and it's so sad and horrible at the same time. My youngest told me last weekend that if I had to leave the house to take his sister to another activity and leave him with his dad, he would go crazy. It would be funny if it were not so tragically sad.

I tell them all the time he cannot help it, he feels like crap, his meds don't work well, on and on, and they listen, doesn't seem to help. I hope that when they are older they might understand better, but right now they seem to resent his erratic and unpredictable interactions. He will randomly snap at them for a grade they made on an assignment, when he has never helped any of them with any homework, much less asked them about what they are working on in school. And on and on. My son is having issues in school, both socially and academically. I don't think he cares, he has no father figure to help guide him in anything and worse, the majority of the random interactions he has with his dad are confusing and inconsistent. I am trying my best to help but I'm a woman, and my efforts don't seem to be helping.

Sometimes I can't really blame them, he never did much with them as a dad (I changed 99.9% of all the diapers and taught all of our children how to use the bathroom, how to play ball, help with homework, shuttle them to every event, birthday party, and function, I still tuck all of them in every night and turn out the lights even though this is something he could easily have been doing for years, and still could do. This is a source of frustration for me because back then my husband COULD have done so many thing with our kids but did not...When you spend very little time with someone, even your child, it is hard to have a meaningful relationship.

My husband does pick our youngest up from the bus most afternoons, but they honestly don't say ten words to each other on the way home, and when they get to our house, my child runs in the door twenty feet ahead of my husband, just leaving him behind. There is no conversation, no connection. When I have to leave him with his dad, he either watches TV or plays on the computer all by himself, often for hours. It makes me crazy because I set and enforce a time limit on screen time. My husband rarely tells him to get off and if he does, my son doesn't listen to him, and my husband just walks away. There are no consequences for disobedience, and my husband tells me that he is just "too tired" to follow through. What can I do about this?

My husband gets upset with them because of how they act towards him, too. What to do? It's so hard and I'm stuck in the middle trying to help our kids grow into responsible, and hopefully happy, adults. I can't even imagine what it is like for families where the dad takes his son to the park on the weekend, or his daughter to a sleepover...

Does anyone deal with these issues? How do you handle them? Any advice?

By parkinit On 2013.04.13 16:32
I cannot imagine the difficulty it would be to raise children in the home with a PWP. My husband has older children and they don't understand . . . fully. Can anyone except the one living with him or her, though and the PWP?

You are raising a family all on your own PLUS taking care of a disabled person.

MY PWP is very self-focused and rarely sees outside his own world. This makes it difficult to engage him in conversations with youth, huh? Too get a PWP to engage and be interested in others is very difficult to do - from my personal perspective. It is always his health issues, his needs, his wants. HE feels unappreciated! I had to LOL on that one.

Hang in there. Hopefully, someone else who has kids can respond. My hat is off to you, because you are facing an extremely difficult situation and must be an exceptionally strong woman.

By jcoff012 On 2013.04.13 17:28
Lurking, I agree, I cannot imagine what it is like for you. I was blessed with the time that my husband wasn't ill that he was an outstanding husband and father. Our "kids" (42, 40 and 35) all adore him. As do I. I cannot imagine what it would be like to NOT have a constant companion and father to our children. I agree, you are a strong person.

Remember, if you raised your children to be caring, loving human beings, they will be so when YOU need them to be. Life gives us twists and turns, but I firmly believe that what goes around, comes around. Your children will rally around you when you need them the most.

As for a dad who wasn't there or didn't act like a dad, that is his doing, not yours. You are doing your best by telling them about his disease, sharing your feelings of loss, but mainly, you are not making him less of a dad by complaining about him. I commend you for that. It would truly be easy to complain or degrade him in their eyes, but teaching them that he IS dad, that dad IS in there, does their morale a boost. Children want to be loved and will overlook a lot. They need to know this disease is the "bad guy" here, not dad. He is doing his best and so are you.

I used to approach the kids this way, "If YOU were the one who was mean or said something wrong, wouldn't you want someone to say, 'Hey, that hurts me. What can you say that makes me feel GOOD, instead?' Then, that would open up a discussion about what hurts their feelings, what they can do to help the other person be kinder, and it also gave them a chance to let out their negative feelings. I would often agree with them..."It HURTS, doesn't it?" and, "Let's do something else instead...let's learn to walk away, but DO NOT leave the room and be hurtful to someone else, just because YOU are hurt." Cause and effect, right?

Again, we have always had open discussions with our children. At least we tried...One terrible thing we messed up on was not answering all of the questions about our daughter's death...we didn't find out until a year later (after our son had such terrible nightmares), that he thought that she had lost her legs in the car accident...because, at 11, he had not been to a funeral and did not know that the casket simply covered her legs!...So, even those of us who think we do our best, don't always understand or help our kids' issues.

But, letting them be angry with their dad is healthy, as long as you try to help them understand he loves them as best he can.

Another example is our three and a half year old grandson around Grandpa (PWP). There are times when Grandpa is too tired to play or has to lie down..."WHY Grandpa? I WANT to play." We both sit him down and explain that Grandpa is sometimes sick or tired and he needs to be patient and kind. He is actually understanding more now...he is young, but he understands hurt feelings...and love.

Again, we all wish you the best. As my mother always says to me about our now oldest daughter, who is constantly critical of PD and just doesn't "get" it, "She is the one who will be a thorn in your side during your life, but will be the FIRST one to be by your side, holding your hand when it is time to leave this earth." LOL

I, for one, am proud of you. Do your best, that's all you can do...and make SURE you find time for kids, no PWP...even if it's a locked bathroom, a glass of wine, and a long, hot bath! Hugs and love, Jane ;)

By lurkingforacure On 2013.04.13 18:42
Thanks for the responses. I have hesitated to post about this because I sound like such a whiner, I hate that. But I am running out of ideas and was hoping someone might have some! It's nice to get the support, though, I really appreciate that.

I realize that as hard as this is for me, and our kids, it must be really hard for my husband. He has to know how much he has missed already by not doing things when he could, and must now be realizing he can't go back..but of course, none of us can, so we all have to deal with that issue. Which is why I finally posted, I don't want to not be doing something that could help if I can.

Most days I marvel at my husband's ability to deal with PD as well as he does. I dont' think I could do the same. On the flipside, though, we have the family/children issues...these are not going to go away. Would that they could.

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