Talking to kids about NC

  • 7 Replies
  • 497 Views
*

Moxie890

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 142
Talking to kids about NC
« on: September 06, 2018, 12:45:48 PM »
Last weekend my daughter and I went to a park that she associated with Grandma, and she asked me why Grandma wasn't there. I am terrified that I didn't address it appropriately for a three year old, and I ended up tripping over my words. The last thing I want to do is burden her with any heavy adult information. My mom used to do that to me. I tried to explain that Grandma loves her, but isn't being kind to Mommy and she isn't making good choices. So to keep us safe, we are not spending time with Grandma. I also said Grandma isn't acting like a kind loving member of our family.
My daughter has brought it up a couple times since then and said "Grandma isn't kind family". I hate that it's even on her mind, and I am scared that I said too much.

*

all4peace

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • 6767
Re: Talking to kids about NC
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2018, 12:52:30 PM »
Starboard Song has a really great explanation for this, that can be adjusted for age. I copied and pasted it into my healing journal and will share it here (hope that's ok, SS!):

A way to explain NC: “ What gpa and gma want -- the bifurcation of our family -- is something that loving families simply do not do, and that responsible parents do not allow.”

*

Starboard Song

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • 1224
  • Live without want or complaint, and die singing.
Re: Talking to kids about NC
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2018, 01:21:05 PM »
Moxie,

It is asking quite too much of anyone to navigate such troubled waters. This challenge is not your fault.

My son was 11 when our crisis started. When we went NC, all4peace has it just right. We explained that Granny and Poppy were very angry. We had tried to make things right, but it wasn't working. That something was very wrong. That Granny and Poppy were telling us that they no longer wanted a relationship with us. But they both loved him very much, and missed him, and wanted to continue visiting with him, but without having a relationship with us. That we'd discussed this with experts in family crisis, like my friend Mr. Expert, and this is what he told me:

"Granny and Poppy want to maintain a relationship with you, while not having any relationship with us, and while abusing us in writing, and while lying about us. But doing this, separating a family into acceptable and unacceptable parts, is something that loving families simply do not do, and which responsible parents never allow. So Granny and Poppy want something that is just not attainable."

I've made this statement to my son a few times now, always a little different. And yes, he knows the word bifurcation!

At only three years old, I'd recommend keeping it more along the lines of, "Grandma is dealing with some issues of her own right now. She loves you, but right now it doesn't work for us to visit. She is OK, and I hope things will be better for her in the future."

But don't worry. A three year old is flexible and they bounce. You did nothing wrong, and if you keep a kind heart you'll communicate in a way that reassures your DD without creating false hopes or expectations, and without planting doubts about the love of family. If she is old enough to be saddened by this, you are old enough to know that this is not your fault.

I am so very sorry. You should never have to deal with such things.
Radical Acceptance, by Brach   |   Self-Compassion, by Neff    |   Mindfulness, by Williams   |   The Book of Joy, by the Dalai Lama and Tutu
Healing From Family Rifts, by Sichel   |  Stop Walking on Egshells, by Mason    |    Emotional Blackmail, by Susan Forward

*

Moxie890

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 142
Re: Talking to kids about NC
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2018, 05:57:11 PM »
Thank you so much for the advice and reassurance!
I do know this situation is not my fault, but I still struggle with that sometimes. I still feel guilty at times (even though I know I shouldn't) because I am the one who requested NC. My mom told me if NC happened it would be my choice, but to take care of myself and be a responsible parent I don't see another choice. My mom is engulfing, and I believe she has NPD and BPD, I also believe she was attempting to groom my daughter. Like I said, she never claimed to want NC, but she was only showing interest in spending time with my daughter, and she told me she thought our relationship was damaged beyond repair (I agreed, but for different reasons obviously).

I want to be honest with my daughter, but in the most appropriate way possible. She doesn't need to worry about these things, she just needs to know she is loved and enjoy being a kid. Thanks again for the advice and wording suggestions.

*

daughter

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • 4422
Re: Talking to kids about NC
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2018, 10:43:08 AM »
The Truth is the Truth, and truthfulness is truly the best policy, even for young children.  Your mother is unpleasant and toxic, and if you feel need to distance yourself, then your daughter deserves the same degree of protection and distancing.  It's okay to flag your mother's bad behavior as it occurs in presence of your daughter:  "mom, that's not nice to say/do; don't say/do that I front of DD".  It's also okay to identify that bad behavior, note the pattern of rude and inappropriate actions, and state to 3 year-old DD:  "grandma said/did bad things that people aren't supposed to do, won't say she's sorry, so she's having a big time-out before we can visit/talk to her again".  For your daughter, grandma's absence will quickly become normalized.  For you, if your mother can't be respectful and kind to you, then she doesn't deserve a place in your daughter's life.  And I'd skip the "grandma loves you" statements, because frankly they're likely untrue, factually speaking, given your mother's consistently bad behavior and its negative impact upon you, your daughter's mother.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2018, 10:45:45 AM by daughter »

*

qcdlvl

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 120
Re: Talking to kids about NC
« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2018, 12:13:48 PM »
Don't be hard on yourself. It's a very tough situation and you were thinking on your feet. About what you said, I like this part:

Quote
...but isn't being kind to Mommy and she isn't making good choices. So to keep us safe, we are not spending time with Grandma. I also said Grandma isn't acting like a kind loving member of our family.

I like the focus on choices made, safety first and actions, not words nor real or imagined intentions.

And I'd skip the "grandma loves you" statements, because frankly they're likely untrue, factually speaking, given your mother's consistently bad behavior and its negative impact upon you, your daughter's mother.

 :yeahthat:

*

Moxie890

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 142
Re: Talking to kids about NC
« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2018, 05:18:28 PM »
And I'd skip the "grandma loves you" statements, because frankly they're likely untrue, factually speaking, given your mother's consistently bad behavior and its negative impact upon you, your daughter's mother.

I have been thinking about this, and as much as I want to deny it, and find it so hard to understand, you are right. I remembered an incident that confirms it. When my mom moved close to us my DD was only a year old. When talking about baby proofing her house, my mom pitched a fit about me insisting she use a screw in baby gate at the top of her stairs instead of a tension gate. Tension gates are not the safest option for stairs. She said I was asking her to deface her house. I couldn't believe she was placing a few holes in the wall over my daughter's safety. It was a lightbulb moment for me. She never put up any gate, but I was in the process of coming OOTFOG and my daughter was only there a couple times without me before I stopped allowing that.

Thank you for your feedback qcdlvl. I am feeling better about how I addressed it, and my daughter doesn't seem to be dwelling on it anymore.

*

Gladiola23

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • 86
Re: Talking to kids about NC
« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2018, 05:43:18 PM »
I’ve also been walking this road. I have a 3 and 5 year old now. I liked what you said -“grandma isn’t kind, and we are not spending time with her”. My therapist mentioned to be honest with kids, not give them all information before they are ready, and realize that kids are resiliant and we don’t have to protect them from the broken relationship. Kids will understand more than we realize. As a recovering codependent, this is hard for me, but I thought important.