THE BLOG

To the Mother That Told Her Son This...

05/07/2014 04:35 pm ET | Updated Jul 03, 2014
  • Marina Sbrochi Author of ' Nasty Divorce: A Kid's Eye View' and 'Stop Looking for a Husband: Find the Love of Your Life'

"Your father doesn't really love you. If he loved you, he'd take you on the weekends."

I want to know if you really and truly know the damage you are doing to your child? I want to give you the benefit of the doubt. I want to believe that you have gone through such hell that you just can't help yourself. Please tell me I actually misheard you. Tell me you did not actually tell your child that the other parent doesn't love him.

Can you take yourself back to your childhood? Do you remember feeling as if your parents were your whole world? How would you feel if you were told over and over again that one of your parents didn't love you? If you don't know how that feels, let me tell you. It feels like shit. It feels like a big, fat, punch in the gut. It feels like someone reached in to grab your heart and twisted it over and over again on the way out.

As a parent, how could you possibly wish to have your child feel this way?

Yes, I know some of you have exes that suck and don't really "love" the kids. However, you don't have to tell the kid exactly that. You don't. You don't tell, not because you want to lie, you don't tell because the damage you will do is far greater than telling them something like this:

"Your dad is having some issues right now and he is unable to be the father he wants to be. He doesn't know how to show his love and he is unable to keep promises right now. We are going to hope that he gets the help he needs."

You get the idea, fill it in with your particular details wrapped up with some compassion.

You can justify your belief of -- "everyone needs to know the truth" all you want. However, I can't seem to find the justification to purposely pouring salt on the wounds of a child. I'm merely suggesting you REPHRASE the bad news. Ask any good psychologist if it's better to package a pill like that up with some sugar or shove it down their throat without any water. This is how it goes, the pill gets swallowed with the sugar and the kid chokes with no water. Do you understand now?

There is no need to tell everyone the absolute harsh truth about everything. There is something called compassion and it is what children deserve in situations beyond their control. Is it going to help you if I called you a selfish, mentally abusive person for telling your children that the other parent hates them? Or would you rather me understand the pain you feel and help you help your children accept a crappy situation? Trust me, when the child is old enough, he will know exactly what the truth is. Your need to "prove a point" or "tell the truth" should come second to your child's mental health.

I'm not perfect and I have definitely said some things I regret. You can show that you are human by admitting your mistakes and trying to make it right. Let's say you had some bad moments and you let words like, "your mother doesn't love you, that's why she left" cross your lips. You can undo the damage right now. Here are three things you can do to work on making it right and healing your child.

1. Immediately stop saying negative things about the other parent. Never tell a child that their parent doesn't love them. It's destructive. It's cruel.

2. If you have said something you regret, let your child know. Apologize. Explain that you came from a place of anger. Help your child see that everyone has faults and we need to accept people where they are in life. Let your child know that the other parent does love them -- they are just in a place right now where it's hard to see it.

3. Seek professional help for you and your children. Abandonment is tough and it's okay to seek professional help. It's a sign of strength.

If the above still doesn't convince you that it's not right to tell children that the other parent doesn't love them, let me tell you the story of Evangeline. Her mother found her unconscious next to a bottle of pills at 14. She tried to kill herself. Beside her, a note.

Mom,

You always tell me how much my dad doesn't love me. You are always telling me that he wanted me aborted. I figured that because you have told me this so many times for so long, that you must actually feel that way too. Why else would you rub it in and make me so sad? Goodbye.

Evangeline