Sunday

Dysfunction Junction

At church, Big D jokingly pointed out in the program that the church was offering a class on how to let go of your dysfunctional childhood. He teasingly (maybe?) thought I might could use it. Lamb, who was sitting between us, gave me a look. I realized that she really doesn't know what my childhood was like. Coastie Brother & I didn't have an easy time of it, that's for sure. But it is what it is. Some had better, some had worse. I just have never felt the need or desire to share it with my kids. I don't like to dwell on it.

There was on other time it was glaringly obvious to me. Bear made the comment asking how come Uncle A never visited Poppy. He just assumed that all my siblings (there are 4 siblings and 6 step-siblings in the course of my life) had the same parents. And while he knew that his G & Poppy didn't live together, he didn't understand that they are divorced. Lamb then piped in that she never really thought about it either.

That part of my past seems so long ago. Almost like it happened in a book I read or a show I watched. Most of the people directly responsible for the dysfunction aren't even in my life anymore. Thank you God! And while I can tell there are still some remnants of it, they don't really apply to the kids. It's all on Big D. Poor guy.

So, how much do our kids need to know about our childhood? Do they need to know everything about us? And how do you tell them?

13 comments:

Library Girl said...

Every family has its complexities, and I would think that as Lamb and Bear get older, the questions they ask will become a bit more complex and the time to reveal certain family quirks and stories will reveal itself. I didn't find out until about 10 years ago that my G-mother and G-father divorced because my G-father had an affair with my G-mother's BEST FRIEND and BRIDGE PARTNER. And then my G-father MARRIED that woman. In real life, that's despicable. In family/kid life, that "adulteress" was none other than the wonderful and loving step-Grandmother that I'd known and loved nearly all my life. As a 25-year old, though, I was able to comprehend that. As a 14-year old, I wouldn't have taken it so well. All in its own time.

forgetfulone said...

I think there are just some things that our kids don't need to know, especially while they're still kids.

D... said...

Thanks for validating me ya'll. That's where my thinking lies too.

And, wow, LG, that is so heavy family drama. I'm glad you were 25 before you found out.

marky said...

I share goo things.. when my kids get older and ask I share a little more. My two oldest dont' even need to ask anymore, they see the dynamics and that speaks for itself.

Patois said...

For me, the sharing of info depends on relevance. For example, talking of how my parents' divorce was so hard on me to encourage my kids to look after/tend to/provide solace to their friends who have parents divorcing.

Amy-littletoesandcheerios said...

Whoa, I can so relate. My father was abusive to us and he actually went to prison when I was 9 years old. I haven't spoken to him much down through the years and I don't want him to be a part of Madi's life.
I could go on and on. (another time)

I guess when the time is right, we just have to let them know, people are not always good and life can be tough at times. Stick with those who truly love you.

Bubba's Sis said...

I totally agree with what everyone else has said. Tell them what they need to know at the appropriate time. Keep the drama and high emotions out of it. Just the facts, ma'am. As they get older, they will understand more. My kids know very little about Hubby's family dynamics, and for now that's OK.

I'm sure there are things about my parents' past that I don't know - and probably don't WANT to know. Sometimes ignorance IS bliss!

Jennie said...

You are such a great mom. Listen to your instincts. You'll know what they are ready to hear,

debbie said...

Well shoot. Whoever Jennie is that commented right above me is short, concise and stole all the good stuff! But, I don't think kids have to know everything. I think we can be selective in what we tell them.

Tales From the Eurovan said...

Hi Dana!

This is a good one I have thought long and hard about! I must say I am glad we are over 1,000 miles away from certain family members! That certainly helps! But it does make it hard to know what to do...do we take vacations, take the time that is tough to get off, spend the money and go visit dysfunctional family members? Or, now that my kids are getting older they are aware of some dynamics and pick up on stuff that we don't allow at home, or words that are spoken or attitudes that are shown. Then they comment on it and I struggle with what to say! I want to be respectful and honoring, yet truthful and consistent! Wow! Sorry I just went on and on and on...

Good stuff!
Take care,
Julie

Jamie Dawn said...

I don't think kids need to know everything, but I do think that some things can be used as teaching tools for them. We decide when to tell what, and we use our past lessons to teach them. You are wise to keep some things from them, especially if those things would be disturbing or upsetting to them.
I'm sorry you had a tough childhood.
I'm glad you have distance from those in your past who were most harmful.
Your hubby sounds like a good man who is concerned about you.

Amy-littletoesandcheerios said...

You are wonderful, my dear! I am so doing the B-Day cake for Jesus on Christmas Eve!!!!
Thanks a bunch for that tradition...it'll be in my family too.:)

jennyonthespot said...

Yup... good input here! You have some stellar folks commenting - wisodm... thought. I agree that it depends on their age/maturity.