Talking to children about parents convictions

Bees
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2018 12:22 am

Talking to children about parents convictions

Post by Bees » Wed Jun 27, 2018 12:30 am

Hi, does anyone have any advice about how I can talk to my children about their fathers convictions? It needs to be age appropriate (they are 4 and 7) and done in a way that doesn’t undermine their trust in both of us and also that is not too scary for them to process. We are still together and they love their dad very much, it’s important that we don’t lose that but I want them to be prepared to some level in case someone outside the family says something to them.

Has anyone else spoken frankly to their children about this sort of stuff? Any advice / suggestions / ideas gratefully received.

Thanks

Kami2018
Posts: 97
Joined: Sat Jun 16, 2018 5:08 pm

Re: Talking to children about parents convictions

Post by Kami2018 » Wed Jun 27, 2018 9:44 am

You don't mention what the con fictions are that would help so much I'm in a position atm where my partner is going to prison very soon and bail conditions mean he's not allowed to our city we live in it doesn't mean he can't have contact with his children his bail conditions are so he can't interfere with witnesses or 're offend I told my children there daddy is away camping to collect all the flys as they don't like flys so when he's collected them all he will come back and we can all go camping

DD2SS
Posts: 34
Joined: Thu Aug 24, 2017 4:56 pm

Re: Talking to children about parents convictions

Post by DD2SS » Thu Jun 28, 2018 4:03 pm

Hi Bees, I have personal experience of this with my two of similar age and we've had the benefit of some child psychologist advice. I want to write about this properly but I won't be able to get to it for a few days, bear with me please but I will write soon.

DD2SS
Posts: 34
Joined: Thu Aug 24, 2017 4:56 pm

Re: Talking to children about parents convictions

Post by DD2SS » Mon Jul 02, 2018 3:22 pm

Hi Bees,

This is such an important topic, and not one people really talk about. It is so difficult to tackle head on. While the NSPCC provide some good information on self-protection for children - which of course should be part of any child's education and is an important aspect of discussions - their remit is entirely and appropriately child protection and does not consider how to discuss sexual offences with children and the immediate and long term impact and implications of these offences. In particular, they are not really geared towards those situations in which the (ex)-offender may continue to play a role in the children's lives.

As I say, we had the benefit of professional input and the children were about the same age at the time of disclosure. The important overall main points were:

1. Disclosure is an ongoing process that will evolve and necessarily change over time as the children's understanding of the sexual nature of the crime changes. There may need to be several discussions.
2. It is important not to lie, so that they do not face unpleasant shocks later on when there may be unexpected disclosure and they find out the truth. That they're not left joining the dots when they do internet safety at school. I realise from your post that you understand this. This might undermine the relationship with both parents if they feel deceived.
3. You need to be responsive to their emotional needs and - although most offenders don't want to hear this - be prepared that, as their awareness of the societal context of the crime grows - they could unilaterally reject the offending parent. Of course they may not.
4. Obviously it needs to be simple and understandable. At that age, they think of crimes as cops and robbers, so this is all a bit abstract to them.

So, in practical terms, you might want to discuss how daddy had broken the law and he was punished for it. It will be important to say that what he did wrong involved adults hurting or harming children. Maybe introduce the concept of rude pictures, and, depending on circumstances, that he didn't take the pictures himself but looked at them. (Not sure how you deal with indecent exposure). It might be relevant in your case to say that the police and people who look after children say you can't see him for a while while he makes sure it doesn't happen again. Depending on his remorse, insight, and willingness to change and seek help, it might be appropriate to say that he has worked hard to make sure it doesn't happen again, but this takes time. Depending on what risk assessments have been done, it may be appropriate to say that he has been tested and doctors/people who work with children are happy/unhappy for you to see him at the moment.

So I suppose that's a start. Our situation has plenty of complications, but the kids enjoy a very good relationship with their dad at the moment.

Take care.

User avatar
Suzie, FRG Adviser
Posts: 2157
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:57 pm

Re: Talking to children about parents convictions

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Fri Jul 06, 2018 2:33 pm

Dear Bees

Thank you for posting again on the parents’ discussion board.

From your post, I see that you wish to explain to your children the nature of their father’s conviction and anxious to know the best way to do this.

You have had some good advice from DD2SS who shared their experience with you in response to your post.

I think it is important that this should be done in an age appropriate manner. Have you discussed this with the social worker who has been involved with your family?

It might be helpful if you make contact with the Lucy Faithfull Foundation or Barnados who should be able to give you advice about how best to approach to share this information with your children.
Should you wish to speak to an adviser, feel free to telephone our advice line on 0808 801 0366. The advice line is open from 9.30am to 3pm Monday to Friday.

Hope you find this helpful.

Best wishes

Suzie

Bees
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2018 12:22 am

Re: Talking to children about parents convictions

Post by Bees » Tue Jul 10, 2018 1:03 pm

Thank you this is a really helpful response and I will speak to the professionals involved regarding what you have said. We have all as core group agreed that we need to do some work on this and this will form a really helpful basis for our discussion. Thank you

Bees
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2018 12:22 am

Re: Talking to children about parents convictions

Post by Bees » Tue Jul 10, 2018 1:03 pm

Thank you this is a really helpful response and I will speak to the professionals involved regarding what you have said. We have all as core group agreed that we need to do some work on this and this will form a really helpful basis for our discussion. Thank you

Freddie
Posts: 19
Joined: Fri Oct 13, 2017 7:00 pm

Re: Talking to children about parents convictions

Post by Freddie » Wed Jul 11, 2018 1:27 pm

Hi I am soon to go through this. New partners crime was against an adult female and he is deemed low risk to the kids.
My SW and NSPCC are hugely in favour of disclosing something to the kids. I am scared on how to.do this as I'm worried how it will affect them. They want to phrase it as bad touching, but I think they will make that sound like they are at risk from him. Its a minefield and I'm worried so much about it.

Dd2ss. Thank you for your post it is giving me hope.and options

DD2SS
Posts: 34
Joined: Thu Aug 24, 2017 4:56 pm

Re: Talking to children about parents convictions

Post by DD2SS » Fri Jul 13, 2018 11:12 am

Hi all, glad it was helpful.

Freddie: I don't think you should feel bad or worried at all about the NSPCC's "good touches, bad touches" approach, that is all part of self protection and it's good that they learn about it. In your case, it doesn't sound like it would be directly related (or contextualised with) to your partner's offence anyway. I should emphasise, that NSPCC advice was core to disclosure in our case and the kids took it in their stride. Perhaps another question is: who can they talk to after that information is given in case they have further questions afterwards (it's a lot to take in at the time)? Perhaps a follow-up meeting with whoever's involved in your case would be helpful?

Bees: Glad it helps. It would be good to know how you get on. There's obviously no right or wrong way to do this and all kids are different. Having some ideas on how others are handling it is very useful!

Suzie: I called Lucy Faithful, unfortunately they do not have specific guidance on this at the moment and were unable to help. Perhaps this will change. Their website is good, but their approach necessarily differs to that of the children's charities, who do not wish to give succour to offenders and instead wholly focus on child protection, for obvious reasons. Given the differences in opinions on offenders' motives for online offences and ability to rehabilitate, this is a really contentious area even for professionals (let alone within families), and it makes the all important question of "why did daddy do this?" particularly challenging. We haven't crossed that bridge yet.

DD2SS
Posts: 34
Joined: Thu Aug 24, 2017 4:56 pm

Re: Talking to children about parents convictions

Post by DD2SS » Fri Jul 13, 2018 11:24 am

Sorry, just wanted to say one more thing. We were fortunate in that our Cafcass officer was excellent (private law case), had befriended the children, and was very neutral when disclosing (with mum present). Not sure who you have available to you to help out, but obviously who gives the information is important and, if I may say, would preferably be evidence rather than emotion driven.

Post Reply