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-   -   Children and Polyamory: Merged Threads, General Discussion (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=921)

cjj23464 06-16-2009 01:28 PM

Children and Polyamory: Merged Threads, General Discussion
Ok so another question is what about the kids. How do I explain this lifestyle to them? Mine are all old enough to question additional "interests" if you will. I don't want to cause them any confusion or pain.

MonoVCPHG 06-16-2009 02:41 PM

Hi again..I am pretty opinionated about your story so I will sit back and hopefully someone else will be able to help. I asked my girlfriend Redpepper to take a look at your situation and hopefully she will have a helpful perspective.
Take care

redpepper 06-16-2009 11:11 PM

I replied in another post about kids... but here is some more...

I have a six year old that considers "mono" part of his family. He said he would be okay with him being part of his family as I have explained to him before that we can choose who we want in our family and that they can choose us.

My long time friend and ex-girlfriend is part of our family, she helped me through child birth and is a constant in our lives. I had chosen her to be so and she choose us. She had a girl friend for a good number of years that was also chosen by us, but when they recently broke up she choose to leave our family. I told him that it is her choice and that we will love her regardless of her choice.

I don't have older kids, but I go a lot by my gut feeling on things. I know that for me and my husband, "mono" is a perfect fit, and we have chosen him to be in our family for as long as he wants to be. We have chosen him for life and he us. My boy has accepted this and has welcomed him with open arms and all the love he can muster.

I am very proud that I have taught my child respect for individuality, different genders, races, sexual orientation and for himself. I did this by living it. It wasn't until I had a child I realized how important it is to do this if we are to raise good people to look after the planet and ourselves into the future.

Having said this I feel strongly that it is very important not to tell your kids about our poly relationships or struggles within it, unless some major hurdles have been crossed and there is a sense of comfort, continuation, respect, balance, and caring from all those adults involved. Kids don't need to know our "BS" at any age. It isn't their responsibility to take it on and deal with the stress of it, it's ours. cjj, I think you and your husband have tons of work to do before telling them anything!

Quath 06-17-2009 12:26 AM

For us, we are keeping it from the kids until they are adults. Personally, I think it depends on the kids and their age. If they are young enough, they will accept it as normal if you act like it is normal. The big hurdle is letting them know that others may judgemental. (This is similar to shat children of gay parents had to go through until it became more sociaally acceptable.)

If they are older, they probably have accepted a lot of society's values. so it could be a lot harder. You can either hide it from them or sit down with them and explain everything. (You can talk about the intimacy and you don't explicitely have to mention sex.)

redpepper 06-18-2009 01:58 AM


Originally Posted by Quath (Post 2002)
For us, we are keeping it from the kids until they are adults. Personally, I think it depends on the kids and their age. If they are young enough, they will accept it as normal if you act like it is normal (You can talk about the intimacy and you don't explicitely have to mention sex.)

I think with my son he sees that I just love people and especially his Daddy. I don't show too much affection towards anyone else, although I am a very touchy person, so it shouldn't be a big surprise to him. I am speaking about family and love within it rather than sex. I am leaving him to question sex when he is ready. When he is ready I will answer directly and without emotion or judgment, no matter what he asks. I am sure he will ask about mono and if he does, so be it... I will answer. Keeping anything from him is out of the question as I could not call myself poly if I were. Of course I won't go into details, but will keep to the facts and make sure he knows that loving people can be intimate under certain circumstances.

Quath 06-18-2009 02:23 AM

Back when I was in a triad, both women had children. They were 5 years or younger. So they did not see anything weird about the adults sleeping in one bed. As far as they were concerned, it was just a big slumber party. We talked about what we would say to the kids. We came up with something similar to what you just said, Redpepper. You don't have to go into detail, but if they are asking, then it seems they are ready for some of the knowledge.

On the downside of this, one of the women's ex-husband tried to get custody of the children. The main reason was that he was not paying child support and if he had custody, he could avoid jail. The triad had broke up by that point, but he tried to use that as a reason to get the kids. Luckily that didn't get much traction.

He converted back to being Mormon and got the community behind him to get the kids away from their mother because she was an atheist. The Mormon community worked with him to get the kids though some lies and deceit. The mother seemed like she was going to get the kids back until she ran out of money for her lawyer. (Little off tangent here. :) )

Lemondrop 06-19-2009 12:48 AM

The most important thing for us is to not act as if we're doing anything "wrong". My quad had a long-term commitment in place before we told my oldest, who is 14. He had a little (negative) experience with polyamory through friends, but we had a LOT of long talks with him and hopefully he's feeling more secure and we tried to reassure him that this just means more love for him.

With the younger kids, we just try to reinforce that these people are in our lives for the long haul. None of them seem freaked out by the fact that we all sleep in the same bed when we're together. We discuss the possibility of moving onto the same property together, but we've passed on living in the same house for the time being. Every once in a while when one of the younger kids tries something sly like asking me (the pushover) for something that their parents have told them no about, I joke about being the junior wife and they seem to think that's funny. So far, so good.

I see it kind of like introducing step-parents into their lives--you want to make sure that everyone is committed to the happiness and health of the kids.

Nadine 07-16-2009 12:53 AM

poly with kids?
It looks like most of you here don't have young children living with you? I've only been reading a few things, having a bit of a struggle finding where to jump in since I'm so new to the whole thing.
Anyway, I'm just concerned mostly about children in a poly family. With the social stigmas I'm really feeling like this is something I need to hide from my kids and family but I don't want to.
Anyone been there, have any stories or advice, or whatever?
I know I should do the whole cross that bridge when I get there thing but i'm a thinker by nature and love to overthink things

aussielover 07-16-2009 01:38 AM

Hey Nadine,
I can understand your concern. Sunshinegrl and Aussiebloke have young children and I will be coming into their family. It hasn't happened yet, so all we have to go on is theory, but they're planning on letting them know I'm more than a friend living with them, or 'aunt' ..... Hopefully one of them can speak more on it, but again, we haven't actually gotten that far yet. Not until I finally get home, or just before.
Good luck. Hopefully some others can share their experiences

redpepper 07-16-2009 07:11 AM

I have a six year old boy. He knows that we chose our family and they chose us. Starting with choosing each other to marry. We have blood family and chosen heart family.

My husband and I started our relationship in poly about 12 years ago and the woman I was with at the time we brought him into our relationship is still a big part of our lives. We are not sexual, but in every way we consider her family and love her dearly... he knows she is family also and sees Mono, my other primary, the same way.

There is no need for him to know that we are sexual. He doesn't know what that is yet and it will be discussed at his pace. I don't believe in telling kids stuff until it is something that they bring up, or it fits a conversation. For instance we recently went to the local Pride parade. We have been going for years and he has always been told that we go to celebrate having love in our hearts for all different types of people. This year we talked about it again before going. We told him that he can love whomever he chooses, just as we love Mono and our ex even thought they are not a part of our blood family.

He told us how much he loves them and that he loves us too and his friend at school... it was our opportunity to tell him the reason for the parade and also to fit a word in about the increased presence of Mono, my other primary, in his life and allow him to love him also in his own way.

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