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  #301  
Old 03-21-2012, 12:29 AM
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FrankLee FrankLee is offline
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Default What and when to tell a child

This is probably the most difficult question for me, now that I am considering committing to the lifestyle and philosophy of polyamory. My 22 yr old son has had difficulty with his mom and I divorcing, and he hated going back and forth between homes as a kid. And the fact that he has birth parents 14,000 miles away in South America (whom he may never know) adds to his sense of abandonment.

I almost think it's genetic, or a least strongly cultural that a young person wants to know where he belongs and who he belongs to. And, when that picture gets fragmented, it is very difficult for them.

So, my thought at the moment is to say nothing about polyamory, and certainly not to use "that word." The bond between a parent and a child seems the strongest of human bonds, more so than the bond of lovers or partners. So, the bond with my son is my first commitment, and maybe some day, there may be a way to explain to him that my clock wasn't wound up to be monogamous.
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  #302  
Old 04-08-2012, 11:33 PM
SimonSays SimonSays is offline
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Default Advice about talking to Children

My wife and I have recently had our trinogamous partner move in with us. This means the 3 of us tend to want to sleep in the same bed, however we have a 6 year old and a 10 year old who often want to either climb in bed with us (it's big enough) if they have bad dreams, or they want to come in in the morning and wake us up. We definitely don't want to kick our partner out of bed at night, we want her to be an equal part of our lives, we also don't like hiding things from our kids (we are very honest parents, we don't believe in lying to our kids). So the question we have is how have others approached this with their kids and talked about it? Mainly this is something we want to discuss with our 10 year old because he is old enough to see that she is more than "a friend" to both of us. We would like to talk to him but wonder at what level we should explain it. Do we talk about bisexuality with him? Is he old enough to take it that far?

I want him to understand that she isn't MY girlfriend, she is more than that for both of us. We want to do this in a respectful way,
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  #303  
Old 04-09-2012, 01:31 AM
SimonSays SimonSays is offline
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I hadn't found search yet... new to the forum as of today.

That thread was very useful. We have always raised our son understanding about homosexuality because I have a lesbian sister, and we are active PFLAG members. We actually opted to talk to him tonight, while our partner is returning with more to move in. The talk went amazingly well. I do believe it is important to explain to children because my parents were swingers and thought we didn't know, and I remember "catching" them accidentally in kisses, or embraces or touches on several occasions and just being confused by it, thinking I did something wrong. Not something I wanted for my kids to go through.

The talk went really well. I am so happy that the kids are being raised in such a loving family environment. Our partner was so happy that we told our son, she really loves him, and she felt it was important for our son not to think something "Bad" was happening if he ever happened to witness a touch or something. She feels so much more comfortable just "being" now.
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  #304  
Old 07-27-2012, 09:00 PM
sparklepop sparklepop is offline
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Default Children and Poly - it is healthy?

Hi all,

I started discussing the issue of children in poly relationships with my GF last night and it got us thinking.

There is a personal slant to this question, plus a general one.

I currently live in the UK and my GF and her husband live in the US. I live there for half the year, until I can move permanently. They have a three year old daughter (I'll call her Baby).

When I live with them in the US, I have my own room and my GF divides her time between her husband's bed and my bed. Secondaries are not in the picture, when it comes to Baby, so that's a non-issue.

Baby is aware (for a three year old) of our poly V and currently seems very happy with the situation. Baby and I are like best friends; she never leaves me alone and has never displayed any upset or confusion.

When she draws a house, she draws the four of us outside. When I'm away, she talks going to my house "at the airport" to see me, almost every day. It's clear that in her mind, we are a family. It's wonderful to see how accepting children are... but we are a bit worried.

First problem - my GF's family are completely against it. Her husband's family do not even know. My GF's mother (I'll call her Granny) has Baby every two weekends, for two or three nights.

Baby loves Granny very much and this is one of the only reasons my GF stays in contact with her mother. Granny's relationship with me is frosty, despite my efforts - she will not look at me, speak to me, acknowledge my presence, or my existence when I am not present.

My question is really two fold...

We are worried about how Granny may effect our daughter as she grows up. She's beyond disapproving when she speaks to my GF. We have thought about cutting contact with her, but we do not want take away that special relationship between Granny and Baby. To be honest, it also really helps us out to have Granny look after her every two weekends.

Secondly... she's just started pre-school and my GF calls me their au pair. We are concerned about what teachers should or shouldn't know... what we should tell Baby as she's growing up, since she will tell friends and friends will tell their parents... etc. I know that children can be bullied for anything... but we want to make sure we are being responsible.

How does it work for you? Are there any problems that we should expect in the future, any stumbling blocks you feel are worth pointing out? Basically, we'd just love to hear your experiences and thoughts, if you have any.
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  #305  
Old 07-27-2012, 11:25 PM
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LovingRadiance LovingRadiance is offline
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I've written about this at length in my personal blog.

We have 4 kids. Ages 5, 12, 16, 20. and a grandson age 1.5

We've been honest and upfront with them and they all know where to find me if they need me (certain times in Maca's bedroom, others in GG's bedroom).

We are also upfront and open with our extended family. The ones who had a problem with it were given the option of keeping their opinions to themselves or departing our lives-end of subject.

It's VERY hard on kids to have adults who treat other meaningful adults in their lives with disdain.

I love my dad-but that's why he is no longer a part of my life. His and his wife's malice towards GG (boyfriend) was so upsetting and concerning to our youngest (who was 3 at the time) that she is STILL traumatized and there was only ONE WEEK that she was around all of them and aware of an issue.


On the upside, we introduced GG as our roommate, nanny, uncle-over the years to the schools-and have had no issue there.

As for other kids-again, no issues. Other kids come over all of the time and even stay the night.

Good luck!
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  #306  
Old 07-28-2012, 12:08 AM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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Sigh -- this is why I don't want to be open with kids. But here's what I'd do if so.

DISCLAIMER: I apologize if I sound harsh, but in these moments I find it easier to just Spit It Out in the hopes of moving something forward even if it is Hard to Hear. So since you asked for feedback... I humbly offer it in good intention spirit.

Quote:

Baby loves Granny very much and this is one of the only reasons my GF stays in contact with her mother. Granny's relationship with me is frosty, despite my efforts - she will not look at me, speak to me, acknowledge my presence, or my existence when I am not present.
This is because of Granny's OWN discomfort. NOT YOU. Your presence makes her confront and face things within her that feel yucky. It's easier to project it on you (the not wanting to feel yucky) than to harness that to do the personal growth work it takes within to not give a rat's ass what anyone else thinks! To embrace other people being happy in an alternative family model. To embrace that what you thought was your vision of your child's destiny is NOT what the grown child (your GF) chooses for self. To love her child (the GF) in whatever presentation she wishes to be in, even if it is a foreign presentation to her (the old parent.)

Quote:
We are worried about how Granny may effect our daughter as she grows up. She's beyond disapproving when she speaks to my GF.
Then GF needs to stand her ground as an adult person and say "Granny, I love you, but this poor treatment of me must stop or else I cannot be around you. And I will not be. "

That she continues to take abuse from Granny teaches Granny that is is BASICALLY OK TO KEEP ON DOING IT and this reinforces to Granny that her opinion that it is "wrong" to be in this formation. It is NOT wrong, and you be how you wish to be. But be like honorable Jedi about it. GF is not honoring herself to allow verbal/emotional abuse to slide at the hands of the mother.

Baby is growing watching this, and you do NOT want her growing up thinking it is ok to take crap from close people -- you don't need to pre-groom her for some domestic battering partner for instance! Children are sponges.

Quote:
We have thought about cutting contact with her, but we do not want take away that special relationship between Granny and Baby. To be honest, it also really helps us out to have Granny look after her every two weekends.
Baby is 3 and won't give a damn, and if ties need cutting better sooner in Baby's life than later. It's because you guys like having the time off without having to work for it too hard in Babysitter Juggly Land. Own this.

It is also because GF is not ready to have the classic apron strings moment with her mom -- she still wants to be a mom pleaser. Own that too.
GF is not ready to do the "I love you, but I do not love THIS -- your treatment of my other loved ones. So behave in a civil manner, or I will remove myself from the equation and grieve and miss you. But I won't tolerate this treatment of me and my loved ones, not even from YOU."

Quote:
Secondly... she's just started pre-school and my GF calls me their au pair. We are concerned about what teachers should or shouldn't know... what we should tell Baby as she's growing up, since she will tell friends and friends will tell their parents... etc. I know that children can be bullied for anything... but we want to make sure we are being responsible.
That is a stickier wicket than Granny.

I do not know your area. I do not know how safe you may be as "out" -- so if your polyship decides to remain with you as the silent partner, or go with the role of "au pair" or "godmother" through these early school ages, good enough. So long as you all arrive at it together -- the agreement for this polyship.

Baby herself -- I'd just live life as ordinary as you can make it, and then somewhere when she starts asking about why her fam is structured diff than hers start with talks about how babies come -- bio babies, foster babies, adopted babies. Leave it there. Next time stretch it out to how parents come -- from divorces as step-parent people, and lead it to "when a heart is so big it takes 3 to hold it" -- the land of poly.

It is ALL ok, it is ALL acceptable, but the sad reality is that some people don't like it because it makes them uncomfortable and they have not yet grown their hearts big enough to be ok with how other people want to live. You have endless children's books (How the Grinch Stole Xmas is classic) even if not actually on poly to help you on your discussion. (Heather has Two mommies -- and more. )

Quote:
How does it work for you? Are there any problems that we should expect in the future, any stumbling blocks you feel are worth pointing out? Basically, we'd just love to hear your experiences and thoughts, if you have any.
What to do when you get outted. Including outted by the child herself.

It's not IF.

It is WHEN.

That is a reality best planned for. Also the reality of the polyship ending. And your role in the child's life after that as the non-bio person. If you want to maintain a parental role, are the papers drawn up so? As her godmother? Or similar? What about if the partner's have accident and die? Do you get custody of her? Does she shoosh over to Granny?

Think these things all the way across carefully in your polyship.

GL!
GG

Last edited by GalaGirl; 07-28-2012 at 02:30 AM.
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  #307  
Old 07-28-2012, 12:51 AM
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LovingRadiance LovingRadiance is offline
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Quote:
That is a reality best planned for. Also the reality of the polyship ending. And your role in the child's life after that as the non-bio person. If you want to maintain a parental role, are the papers drawn up so? As her godmother? Or similar? What about if the partner's have accident and die? Do you get custody of her? Does she shoosh over to Granny?
Very important. Something we established prior to ever being poly. Things to really consider before having children even if you ARE NOT poly.
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  #308  
Old 07-28-2012, 02:18 AM
sparklepop sparklepop is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LovingRadiance View Post
I've written about this at length in my personal blog.
I will definitely have a read of that - thank you!

Quote:
It's VERY hard on kids to have adults who treat other meaningful adults in their lives with disdain.
I agree with this entirely.

Quote:
As for other kids-again, no issues. Other kids come over all of the time and even stay the night.
That is really good to know.

Thank you for this reassuring answer!
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Casually seeing Descartes in my home country (27f)



“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without." ~ Buddha
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  #309  
Old 07-28-2012, 02:30 AM
sparklepop sparklepop is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GalaGirl View Post
DISCLAIMER: I apologize if I sound harsh, but in these moments I find it easier to just Spit It Out in the hopes of moving something forward even if it is Hard to Hear. So since you asked for feedback... I humbly offer it in good intention spirit.
GalaGirl.... I always like your blunt responses... please feel free to get as harsh as you like. That sounded much more flirtatious than intended.


Quote:
This is because of Granny's OWN discomfort. NOT YOU. Your presence makes her confront and face things within her that feel yucky. It's easier to project it on you (the not wanting to feel yucky) than to harness that to do the personal growth work it takes within to not give a rat's ass what anyone else thinks!
I absolutely agree with and understand this. I do not take it personally - I simply think it's a shame that she does not know how to, or want to, do the personal growth work. But c'est la vie.

Quote:
Then GF needs to stand her ground as an adult person and say "Granny, I love you, but this poor treatment of me must stop or else I cannot be around you. And I will not be. "
This is something I've encouraged GF to seriously think about for the future. As you say, Baby is only 3 and the younger she is, the less effected by everything she is going to be.

Quote:
That she continues to take abuse from Granny teaches Granny that is is BASICALLY OK TO KEEP ON DOING IT and this reinforces to Granny that her opinion that it is "wrong" to be in this formation is "wrong." It is NOT wrong, and you be how you wish to be. But be like honorable Jedi about it. GF is not honoring herself to allow verbal/emotional abuse to slide at the hands of the mother.
Again, I agree with this. Deep-rooted emotional issues between GF and Granny. I won't go into it here, but yes, GF has had a lot of therapy before about Granny. Obviously there's an element of 'second chance' thinking from Granny to Baby.... it's one of the reasons GF keeps her around... she was truly quite rubbish as a parent; yet seems to blossom as a Grandparent.

Quote:
Baby is growing watching this, and you do NOT want her growing up thinking it is ok to take crap from close people -- you don't need to pre-groom her for some domestic battering partner for instance! Children are sponges.
This is a very, very good point.

Quote:
It's because you guys like having the time off without having to work for it too hard in Babysitter Juggly Land. Own this.
Another good point that I have also tried to talk to GF and hubby about. It's better to pay a babysitter or I'll look after her when I'm there, than to have Baby's upbringing swayed by Granny... unless Granny can get on board.


Quote:
Next time stretch it out to how parents come -- from divorces as step-parent people, and lead it to "when a heart is so big it takes 3 to hold it" -- the land of poly.

You have endless children's books (How the Grinch Stole Xmas is classic) even if not actually on poly to help you on your discussion. (Heather has Two mommies -- and more. )
Thank you for this - really great advice.

Quote:
What to do when you get outted. Including outted by the child herself.
That's definitely something that needs to be discussed. Thank you for highlighting that.

Quote:
That is a reality best planned for. Also the reality of the polyship ending. And your role in the child's life after that as the non-bio person. If you want to maintain a parental role, are the papers drawn up so? As her godmother? Or similar? What about if the partner's have accident and die? Do you get custody of her? Does she shoosh over to Granny?
GF and hubby are in the process of getting the Godmother paperwork changed from Granny to me in the event of their death. The agreed role is that I will have joint input in terms of a non-bio parent. We've started to talk about all of these things; but yes, you're right, everything needs to be decided and solidified for the future.

Incidentally... out of interest (not confrontation) - do you believe that it is wrong, or too difficult, to have children in a poly environment?

It's something that we've all battled with, so I would be very interested to hear your thoughts.
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Me: (29f) open poly
In a long-distance relationship with GF (39f)
Casually seeing Descartes in my home country (27f)



“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without." ~ Buddha
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  #310  
Old 07-28-2012, 05:05 AM
KyleKat KyleKat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sparklepop View Post
Incidentally... out of interest (not confrontation) - do you believe that it is wrong, or too difficult, to have children in a poly environment?

It's something that we've all battled with, so I would be very interested to hear your thoughts.
You should ask the guy and his wives from the show "Sister Wives" if they think it's too hard or wrong. The answer is not in the slightest. I have two kids. I just had my first couple of dates with someone outside my marriage. No, not for a second did I consider it to be a problem. Kids are strong. They are smart. They are awesome. You already said Baby misses you when you're gone. Would you really want to give that up? That unconditional love?

Dennis Leary said it the best, "Racism is learned, not instilled at birth. Know what my kid hates? Naps! End of list."

This applies to all faux pas or taboo subjects. The kids won't have a problem if you handle it correctly. I could ramble on about this for several more sentences but you get my point.
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