Recently, a friend of mine received an email from his 14-year-old daughter asking if she could go live with him and his family. She explained that it was her mum's suggestion as she had lost her job and home and was finding it difficult to look after her.
Bit of back story here: My friend and his now ex-wife divorced when daughter was one. Ex-wife eventually moved away back to her country of origin taking daughter with her without consulting or telling dad about it. He got to find out from the neighbours when he went over for the regular contact visits. My friend has not seen his daughter since she was four years old.
Back to present day: My friend and his current wife, were happy to have her and told his daughter this adding that while they were making the necessary arrangements, her mother, his ex-wife, would need to write to the authorities concerned to inform them of the new arrangements so that the child maintenance cheques can stop. Thing to understand here is that the State (as in America) in which he lives does not mess about when it comes to child support. If you fail to pay a couple of times, they will come for you and you can explain the rest to the judge! So whether my friend liked it or not, child support was one thing he wasn't about to play around with.
His daughter replied with the words, "Mum told me you haven't paid child support since I was one."
The truth is now beginning to unravel. Finally. As is sometimes said, "today is the tomorrow you feared yesterday." Here is a child who will slowly, in one way or other, begin to understand that not everything her mum told her about her father is true.
Forget about how this will affect the mother/daughter relationship and think about how this will affect the way this girl will begin to see her own life and the guilt she may feel for having resented or hated her father for so long for something he never did. If her mother could lie about something so fundamental and so easy to prove untrue, what else could she have lied about to her daughter regarding her father?
My questions to you are the following: what is the point of lying to our children about their other parent while going through a divorce? How does that benefit them? I know how it benefits you but forget you for a moment and tell me how your child benefits from this.
What is the point of alienating your child from the other parent and most likely from the rest of her extended family? Again, how does that benefit them? Do we not realise that one day, this child will grow up, that he/she will meet up with his/her alienated parent and the truth will come out? Are we really that short-sighted?
Do we not realise that these children will grow and in time the truth will emerge? Do we not understand that by lying to them, we are indeed planting a time bomb on our own relationship with them and when the "boom" happens, because it will, they, our children, will resent us for the longest time possible. Are we really that fatuous or do we just not care what tomorrow holds.
In my line of work, I have heard of lies much more serious than this.
As parents, aren't we supposed to make sure our children are alright no matter what that costs us?
Why do we lie to them about someone so significant in their life, someone whom they are part of? Do help me as I really don't understand. I just don't get it.
Follow Soila Sindiyo on Twitter: www.twitter.com/thedivorcemag