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Old 10-08-2014, 11:11 PM
Location: The Netherlands
4,294 posts, read 2,882,400 times
Reputation: 4257


Be patient at the moment, 8 years is not an age can understand about everything. But in case if your son asks be truth full don't talk negative or don't grow hate against his own father. What ever happens between you and your partner has nothing to do with the child. That is the only way you can deal with this. I know I have a daughter from age 8 and she was 3 years old when were divorced I have to face the same thing some day. But what ever who ever that is my daughters father.
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Old 10-09-2014, 03:50 AM
1,196 posts, read 850,717 times
Reputation: 2011
Wait till your son asks questions. Think hard before answering. Parent's mental illness can stigmatize your child. Meanwhile, talk to the good psychologist about how to talk to you boy in different age periods.
As others said, don't talk now! He won't understand but his little comfortable world will be in ruins.
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Old 10-09-2014, 09:01 AM
Location: Guadalupe, AZ
16 posts, read 11,532 times
Reputation: 15
Grandmother is very protective of grandson and does not speak about the father to the son. But she has been robbed, threatened, used every dime and resource she has had to get him help.
When my son spends time with her its always productive and fun.

Yes, I completely agree that the father has a sad view of himself and its very unfortunate that he can't see more of himself in his beautiful son. But he is 38 years old.There is so much of the father in my son but dad won't take responsibility because he sees no hope for himself and refuses to try. This whole time he has given no money to support his son and refused to get on Social Security because he didn't want me to access his money. Only this past month did his new girlfriend, who is on SSD get him to do it. I have never asked him for a dime knowing that he is incapable of providing an income.

Anyway, the web gets thicker. But, I appreciate all your advice. You all have given me very unique perspectives that I will honor. Thank you!
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Old 10-09-2014, 09:08 AM
Location: Guadalupe, AZ
16 posts, read 11,532 times
Reputation: 15
Originally Posted by Hopes View Post
This is pretty much what I'm saying. It won't be good for him to hear bad things. He needs to hear the good in his father. There has to be something good about him. You just have to search. Even though my sister suffered, she was HIGHLY successful in school and her professional career. Hearing my sister was successful helped my son realize he wasn't doomed. My children's biological father wasn't successful, but he had a knack for fixing anything. When my children first asked me to tell them about their father, that's exactly what I told them because it was honestly was the only good thing that came to my mind without warning the first time.

Hopes: My son's father sounds exactly the same....very good with his hands. When I met him, he was polite, a supervisor of a construction site and happy with himself. Apparently, it was the only time he held a job for more that 3 months. He definitely has positive qualities but unfortunately, he doesn't see them in himself. I understand your point though. I do the same when my son asks me about him, I just tell him he can fix and build anything. You're wonderful! Thank you.

Last edited by Jaded; 10-13-2014 at 01:48 PM..
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Old 10-09-2014, 01:19 PM
Location: Texas
1,029 posts, read 1,155,933 times
Reputation: 1982
First, kudos to you for helping your son have that relationship with his grandmother

I would be honest, in an age-appropriate way, with your son if he asks questions. I would also stress choices. That his dad's choices are ones you do not agree with (you don't have to use any judgement words, like "bad"), and that his dad has to live with the consequences of those. Then you may want to give examples of what you think would be a better choice.

With my kids, we stress choices a lot. There's not a lot of "victimhood" mentality allowed.
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Old 10-09-2014, 01:25 PM
Location: NY-> AZ-> NC->PA->Clayton, NC
640 posts, read 1,713,698 times
Reputation: 248
I say: don't say anything until you're asked. If you're asked questions when he is at such a young age, use compassion and maybe not many details yet, it's too early. He has to emotionally and academically navigate his school years, and no one knows how that will play out (in regards to how classmates will react to Tourette's, and we must remember people will also like/dislike him just for his personality. We've all dealt with that, I think.

People in this thread are giving exactly the right advice (IMHO), including what I think might be the most important: if your son hasn't yet developed to a point where he'll understand he doesn't have the mental issues his father has, he could become afraid that he WILL develop those mental issues. The struggles his father has besides Tourette's are not inclusive of the condition, they are separate issues from Tourette's.

Reading your original post, I thought of Oliver Sacks' short article about the brain surgeon who has severe Tourette's. He wrote that when this woman goes into surgery, she has to focus intently on what she's doing, and all her symptoms disappear. I believe I got this summary of that doctor correctly. If not, someone please correct me.

If you aren't asked anything by your son by his late teens, maybe give some information then. What you have going for you is your son knows he has Tourette's, and a milder form than his father. The support system you've arranged for your son is amazing, in many ways I wish I had that when I was his age.

I don't have Tourette's, or any serious physical or mental diseases, but I can relate to your son. My mother had 6 children with a man who was an alcoholic, and who struggled mentally to make sense of his life, but couldn't. His issue was not only alcoholism. They divorced when I was 5. When I was 10, he took his life, leaving behind a physically and mentally abused mother, and 6 dysfunctional children.

My mother is a awesome. She is so strong, and I can see you are as well.

If she had talked to me about my father when I was 10-15 yrs old, it wouldn't have meant anything to me, because I had no interest in knowing. Once I was around 18, 19 or so, she would say bits and pieces about him, and it always included how much she loved him, even after they divorced. Even before I knew he tried to kill her, before I knew how horribly he abused her.

This is very different from what your son is experiencing, I know that. His father is alive, but not functioning very well. From what you wrote, it seems the father has other issues besides Tourette's (as did my father have multiple issues). They could have emerged due to the severity of his condition and maybe not having the emotional support needed to believe in himself as someone who could do many things without letting the condition run his life. Or, he could have been born with the other conditions he struggles with.

When my mother started talking about my father's problems, his indiscretions, I was in my very late teens and early 20's, usually when I was with my friends sitting around our kitchen table. Much of it was with little detail, and some of it wasn't completely the truth. She told me recently (after she told me the actual truth of one life episode my mother & father went through--which wasn't very pretty) she wanted to wait until we (the 6 children) were all adults before she told us complete truths about him. She didn't want us to hate him. He was ill. He had a problem being monogamous.

I wouldn't have been able to understand the 100% truths when I was a teenager. It would be too contradictory with my mother saying she still loved him. Now I understand how she could love that part of him that was so lovable, and how much he really did love my mother, but his illness prevented them from staying together.

Sorry for writing so much, I guess you hit a nerve in me. I think your son will know when he's ready to take in information about his father. Please be sure to separate the Tourette's from his other issues, and it would be great if your son had had a couple of personal achievements to stand upon when he hears about his father's issues. When your son knows he can do more than his father can do, he should not become afraid he'll come up with his father's other issues.
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Old 10-09-2014, 01:28 PM
Location: Oceania
8,623 posts, read 5,896,758 times
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Originally Posted by stellastar2345 View Post

if he's such a loser, why did you have a child with him? It reflects badly on you as well.
CLANG,CLANG,CLANG!!! Who didn't have this run through their mind upon first reading the OP?

I would wait until the kid asks and be vague about it. Granny can fill in the fine details.
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Old 10-09-2014, 02:14 PM
Location: SLC, UT
1,571 posts, read 2,154,553 times
Reputation: 3833
You don't need to say things about how he's a loser. However, you should still be honest in your answers, making sure that they're age appropriate. For instance, if your son asks why you don't live with him, or why he can't live with his dad, then say something like, "Your dad can only take care of himself right now." Or, "Your dad isn't able to live with other people - he really prefers to be alone." If your son says why, then just say, "I don't know. It's just the way he is." If your son asks why he doesn't get to see his dad more, you could say something like, "Sometimes, it's hard for him to be a dad. He needs a lot of time by himself." Etc., etc.

As your son gets older, he'll start to get the picture. It actually complicates things a little that the dad has some contact with the son - it's just enough contact that dad seems super fun, and so little contact that the son never sees his dad's problems, firsthand, for himself. My daughter's dad isn't in the picture at all (by his choice entirely) - she usually didn't ask, but if she did, I'd just say that he "wasn't ready to be a dad." By the time she was about 13, she said something like, "He's kind of a jerk if he doesn't want to be a dad." And I said, "Yea - he's a nice enough guy, but not when it comes to being a dad, which is too bad, because you're a really awesome kid, and he's missing out."

Basically, my point is, make your comments truthful, but as simple and age-appropriate as you possibly can. His dad can't take care of him like a dad should, which is why he only gets to see dad every now and then. That's the truth. The reasons behind that don't need to be explained, and as your child gets older, he'll start to understand on his own.

EDIT: I read a few more posts, and I agree with Hopes about finding some good things about the dad. The way I did it with my daughter, was when she asked why she's such a good artist when the rest of us aren't (ahh, kids are so brutally honest sometimes), I said, "Well, your dad is a good artist. He's left-handed like you, and was also really good with computers." She just went, "Oh! That's where I get it then. Ok." Basically, she learned some good things about him, in the good ways that they reflected in her.
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Old 10-09-2014, 02:21 PM
Location: Denver, Colorado U.S.A.
14,174 posts, read 22,505,000 times
Reputation: 10428
Originally Posted by natalia64 View Post
I didn't mean to imply because the father has Tourettes, he's a loser. I stand corrected. He's a loser because he refuses to be part of his son's life and uses his dysfucntions as an excuse to not be involved in his son's life. And...his life really is messed up. He's never taken responsibility in any possible way.

Stellar: Not nice. I must be a bad person because I had a kid by a dysfunctional person? I'm dysfunctional in many ways but not in a way that denies a stable life for my son.
My biological father "walked off the job" on my 1st birthday, so I never knew him. My mom remarried soon after and the new father adopted and raised me. Anyway, I never recall any conversation with my mother about my bio father, but I always knew I was adopted by the father who raised me. My mother must have told me something about him, because my view of him was that he was a troubled man and no good. Anyway, I found out he died of alcoholism when I was about 19, so she was right.

I don't know how she let me know about this since I don't remember any conversations, but I always knew as a kid growing up. Probably similar to how we let our boys know that they came about through surrogacy. Just little short conversations here and there. At 6, they still don't understand it all, but they know there was some other woman, who isn't their mother, who "grew them in her tummy". I think the "revealing bits and pieces" in an age-appropriate way takes the shock out of it.
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Old 10-09-2014, 04:05 PM
Location: Denver CO
19,036 posts, read 10,056,661 times
Reputation: 27787
I agree with being honest, but also, to the extent you can be, non-judgmental. I would also wait for him to ask for more details - you can mention things about his father so he knows it's not a forbidden topic of conversation, and the fact that he sees his grandmother should help with that.

But I also think that kids tend to ask when they are ready to hear, and if he's not asking the questions, he's not ready for the answers. When he does start asking, I would listen very carefully to exactly what he's asking and limit your responses to just what he's asking at that moment. When he's ready to hear more, he will ask more questions. In time, he will hopefully be able to form a not unsympathetic but realistic assessment of his father.
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