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Parents telling their children to keep secrets from the other parents?
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# 1
mrsspendalot
Old 19-02-2011, 8:56 PM
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Default Parents telling their children to keep secrets from the other parents?

Just a quicky ...

My boys have just returned from a night at their fathers and when asked what they have been doing today they looked at each other and said they couldn't tell me as their dad had said it was a secret.

I found this quite odd, and it made me worry it was something I wouldn't like.

They actually ended up letting slip what it was, and then the eldest of the 2 looked really worried, like he was going to get into trouble for me knowing. I had to sit them down and reassure them they weren't in trouble, but also that they shouldn't be keeping secrets from me, as I needed to know these things. I told them that no one should be telling them they had to keep anything secret. Basically, their dad has got a dog. Not a problem, so why does it need to be a secret? Well, I do know why it's a problem in his eyes (he hasn't paid maintenance for a year and no doubt doesn't want me to know he has paid out for a dog, but that is a whole other matter entirely).

I'm really quite upset and angry with my ex for frightening them into keeping secrets from me. I don't want them growing up thinking it's ok to lie and keep secrets. What kind of example is that setting?

Would you confront the other parent and discuss this, or just leave it be?
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# 2
scooby088
Old 19-02-2011, 9:08 PM
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Ask him why he felt it necessary to tell the kids to keep it from you? I am sure that he was thinking about the maintenance issue when asking the children to keep it quiet. I agree that it's wrong to teach children to lie.
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# 3
Mimi Arc en ciel
Old 19-02-2011, 9:14 PM
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my mum used to make me keep secrets from my dad. She got a Credit Card in HIS name (this was 20 odd years ago - was easier then!) and i had to get up to beat dad getting the post incase it was a bill!

My OH has told my DD to keep a secret from me this weekend . . . but it's my birthday next week and they went and brought my present. Keep trying to get her to tell me but she wont! lol

If its a little thing, i wouldnt see the issue - such as a "surpriseE" but if its more serious then your kids need to understand they must tell you (im thinking along the lines of bullying, smacking, abuse etc - not saying thats anything to do with you OP but hopefully you'll know what i mean) x
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# 4
squidge60
Old 19-02-2011, 9:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrsspendalot View Post
Just a quicky ...

My boys have just returned from a night at their fathers and when asked what they have been doing today they looked at each other and said they couldn't tell me as their dad had said it was a secret.

I found this quite odd, and it made me worry it was something I wouldn't like.

They actually ended up letting slip what it was, and then the eldest of the 2 looked really worried, like he was going to get into trouble for me knowing. I had to sit them down and reassure them they weren't in trouble, but also that they shouldn't be keeping secrets from me, as I needed to know these things. I told them that no one should be telling them they had to keep anything secret. Basically, their dad has got a dog. Not a problem, so why does it need to be a secret? Well, I do know why it's a problem in his eyes (he hasn't paid maintenance for a year and no doubt doesn't want me to know he has paid out for a dog, but that is a whole other matter entirely).

I'm really quite upset and angry with my ex for frightening them into keeping secrets from me. I don't want them growing up thinking it's ok to lie and keep secrets. What kind of example is that setting?

Would you confront the other parent and discuss this, or just leave it be?


I would feel the same as you about it
Got to say something or its making it ok for your boys to adopt this with other situations.
I cant believe a parent would be so stupid/ignorant !
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# 5
mrsspendalot
Old 19-02-2011, 9:22 PM
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I guess my worry is if he can do it over something so insignificant, what else will he do it over? He is, himself, a compulsive liar.
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# 6
squidge60
Old 19-02-2011, 9:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrsspendalot View Post
I guess my worry is if he can do it over something so insignificant, what else will he do it over? He is, himself, a compulsive liar.
Its the whole "if you want your kids to be honest/truthful "
as a parent you are setting an example.
Feel for you got your work set out by the sounds of it.
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# 7
jinky67
Old 19-02-2011, 9:26 PM
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My DD'S Dad does this as well, he doesnt want her talking to me about stuff they get up to, and neither does he want to hear of anything she does with me. I find it all rather sad to be honest. I dont ever want her to feel that she cant tell her parents anything

I think he feels like I am prying...I am not, I actually couldnt give a stuff about what they get up to really, I just wanna know how her weekend went!
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# 8
CarolynH
Old 19-02-2011, 9:33 PM
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I was raised that 'surprises' and 'secrets' were different. Surprises were nice things that would soon become know - birthday presents, surprise parties, etc. Secrets were things that would never be told.

Really naughty of your ex, can you keep reinforcing to your kids that it's ok/ right to tell you things, and they'll not ever be in trouble for telling? (even if in the future it's that they've done something wrong, you're happy that they owned up, even if you're sad at what they did sort of thing.

Good luck sorting your ex out.
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# 9
shellsuit
Old 19-02-2011, 9:37 PM
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"Don't tell your Mum that Sharon has come out with us today" ~ because she was an alky, had her kids taken off her and I didn't want her or him drinking around the kids.

"Don't tell your Mum that I've got these" ~ as he cracks open cans of cider in the cinema.

"Don't tell your Mum about this" ~ when they're late for the coach coming back from Alton Towers because the selfish schwat decides to have a couple of pints first.

That's just 3 out of 10's upon 10's of 'secrets' I wasn't to know. The thing with small kids is, they're innocent, but they know when they're doing something wrong or in a situation they shouldn't be in and so like to tell Mummy to clear it with her



I keep secrets from him though with the kids. Well, not secrets as such (as in I don't tell them not to tell him), but me nor the kids mention whatever it is to him, because he would just embarrass them and not shut up or moan about whatever it was for weeks.

It's not right to tell little ones not to tell someone else something, because it does worry them and must make their mind turn over and over.
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# 10
mrsspendalot
Old 19-02-2011, 10:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shellsuit View Post

It's not right to tell little ones not to tell someone else something, because it does worry them and must make their mind turn over and over.
That is what is bothering me. The eldest one (who is only 7) looked terrified of me. I just can't have my kids feeling like this. I had to sit and say to him that it was the same as if someone was bullying him at school and said don't tell the teacher - that yes, he should always tell the teacher. How can I teach my children to speak out and not keep secrets like that when their own father is asking them to? It's sick really.
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# 11
shellsuit
Old 19-02-2011, 10:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrsspendalot View Post
That is what is bothering me. The eldest one (who is only 7) looked terrified of me. I just can't have my kids feeling like this. I had to sit and say to him that it was the same as if someone was bullying him at school and said don't tell the teacher - that yes, he should always tell the teacher. How can I teach my children to speak out and not keep secrets like that when their own father is asking them to? It's sick really.
I'd just have words with him (the ex), and mention that if he told the children to keep quiet because of the money aspect, then that's fine if he thinks it's more important to buy and look after a dog than provide for the children he already has, but he should not to ask the children to keep it to themselves as it's unfair to worry them.

How long did he think he could keep it a secret though? If the dog bit one of the kids I'm sure you would know about it soon enough!
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# 12
pigpen
Old 19-02-2011, 10:30 PM
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I'd definitely give him an ear bending.. stupid man!!
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# 13
mrsspendalot
Old 19-02-2011, 10:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CarolynH View Post
Really naughty of your ex, can you keep reinforcing to your kids that it's ok/ right to tell you things, and they'll not ever be in trouble for telling? (even if in the future it's that they've done something wrong, you're happy that they owned up, even if you're sad at what they did sort of thing.

Good luck sorting your ex out.
That's what I tried to do tonight with them. I said that they should never keep secrets from me and it was really important that I knew everything that happened with them, as I was their mum. I said that they would never get in trouble for telling me, and I wasn't cross with them for trying not to tell me. I also said that their dad was wrong to tell them to keep things secret from me, but that it wasn't their fault. I said to them that if he ever asks them to keep something secret again, they should simply say that we don't have secrets in our house as it's wrong to keep secrets from your parents. He just shouldn't be putting them in that position or burdening them like that.

I'll try and sort it with him tomorrow. Just feel a bit drained tonight with it all.
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# 14
mrsspendalot
Old 19-02-2011, 10:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shellsuit View Post
I'd just have words with him (the ex), and mention that if he told the children to keep quiet because of the money aspect, then that's fine if he thinks it's more important to buy and look after a dog than provide for the children he already has, but he should not to ask the children to keep it to themselves as it's unfair to worry them.

How long did he think he could keep it a secret though? If the dog bit one of the kids I'm sure you would know about it soon enough!
Well this is the thing isn't it?! If they get bitten by the dog, what then? Would he even phone me or would that be covered up too. I feel like saying to be honest that it's a shame he can support a dog better than his children but I'm just wasting my breath on that one. He clearly isn't concerned for that aspect of their welfare anymore than their emotional welfare! The silly thing is, the boys are terrified of dogs!
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# 15
mrsspendalot
Old 19-02-2011, 10:38 PM
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One of the things I actually find the most disturbing is when the eldest one let slip they had taken something to show their Nanna and then said but I can't tell you what, I asked the youngest (5 years old) what they showed their Nanna and he lied to me and told me they took a poster. They actually took this dog it turns out. I think it's really worrying that a 5 year old is so quick at churning out a lie like that. Certainly taking after his dad!
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# 16
shellsuit
Old 19-02-2011, 10:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrsspendalot View Post
One of the things I actually find the most disturbing is when the eldest one let slip they had taken something to show their Nanna and then said but I can't tell you what, I asked the youngest (5 years old) what they showed their Nanna and he lied to me and told me they took a poster. They actually took this dog it turns out. I think it's really worrying that a 5 year old is so quick at churning out a lie like that. Certainly taking after his dad!
Now that's wrong. They're not only being asked to keep a secret, but they're lying about it too.

I don't mean the kids are wrong, I mean by him asking them to keep the secret, they are feeling the need to lie about it.

He has put them in that position which isn't fair at all, poor things


ETA : If they're terrified of dogs, he should have known better than to just land them with "look at the new dog but don't tell Mummy!"

Idiot!
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lawrie28
Old 19-02-2011, 10:53 PM
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On the bright side, he will be walking around in the rain soon, picking up it's S**T!

To be fair, he may have got a rescue dog, so it may not have cost him for the animal, but it still needs food, leads, beds, vets bills etc. I would call/go to see him and have a chat. He shouldn't be asking kids to keep secrets, it won't do anyone any favours. It's hard enough for kids when their parents aren't together, this just makes it even harder. Don't flip your lid though, cos that will make him not listen. Flip the situation on him, ask him how he would feel if you told the kids not to tell him something. Save the maintenance argument for another day, the lying part is far worse, IMO.
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# 18
mrsspendalot
Old 19-02-2011, 11:10 PM
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it's definitely not a rescue dog, they went 2 pick it up yesterday from the breeder's house. It's a puppy. The maintenance issue can b saved 4 the csa to b honest. Theyre sending compliance people out 2 him by all accounts!
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# 19
jinky67
Old 19-02-2011, 11:15 PM
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it's definitely not a rescue dog, they went 2 pick it up yesterday from the breeder's house. It's a puppy. The maintenance issue can b saved 4 the csa to b honest. Theyre sending compliance people out 2 him by all accounts!
Maybe he thought you would make a fuss cos the boys dont like dogs? Did they express any anxiety about it?
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# 20
budgetboo
Old 19-02-2011, 11:35 PM
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I had this conversation when my little one was a toddler with the ex. Admittedly he's from a different culture so I don't know if this approach would work on an English bloke but I figure it's worth a shot:-

The theme of the conversation = keeping our kid safe from perverts, peado's and others who would hurt him. So really not personal to him as a Dad in anyway at all.

Aim:- If any adult, no matter in what position of trust (remember the couple from Soham?) makes our child feel uncomfy in ANY way, he should feel able to tell either of us at ANY time, (and yes he has asked to call his Dad rather than tell me stuff he thnks only a "boy" could understand re playground mishaps).
REASON for ex:- Everything you read about child abusers seems to say that they try and keep their activities a secret from you and that it's most often not a total stranger but someone you the adult trust, (the worst case I've read was the nursery worker in Plymouth).
RESULT for me:- not having to raise a child who constantly feels pulled in two between his parents, even if we aren't together priceless!

Result:- Kid has said stuff to both of us we haven't enjoyed hearing repeated, but I left it a couple of weeks before pointing out this would inevitably happen and referred daft ex to original point, and the reason.

He's a complete $% but making about a wider issue of keeping our child safe from every parents worst nightmare meant he realised that if he as a Dad followed my plan that in a worst case scenario our kid would tell us hopefully before becoming a tablois style victim. It meant he was able to see outside of the narrow tit for tat crap and look at what was in his child's best interests in a much wider sense. It stopped being about "us" iykwim. The mere idea that an abuser could and would use his silly technique against me was enough to stop that sort of behavior from him in it's tracks. He admits now he realised now my dislike of encouraging my child to keep secrets from me wasn't about him, but about the child's long term welfare. He also loves it when his boy "confides" in him over the usual playground squabble stuff, it makes them both feel closer and has enabled them to bond in a way I don't think they would have if the "secrets from Mum" stuff has continued - tho he couldn't see that at the time of course.

We over a period of weeks worked out a sensible approach - if we saw the world the same way we'd still be together. I don't encroach on convos his son has with him, and he doesn't interfere with mine. We argue out of the child's earshot when we disagree on things and we always present a united front to the child. I stil think it's awful I had to use shock tactics to shake him out of his selfish childishness, but sometimes needs must when dealing with ijeets who can't put their own kid first
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