I’m expecting my first child at the moment and have been thinking about all the family problems on both mine and husband’s side and how to address various issues when bringing up children. I would very much welcome advice, especially from parents who have difficult family situations and have had some explaining to do already.
I’m going to try and explain the context a bit. Divorce, living in sin and abortion are the norm in my family (when I say ‘my family’ I include my husband’s too). It goes back several generations. Both my husband and I have been hurt by divorce in our families and absolutely detest it, together with all the lies and deceit that goes along with it. We will teach family values and importance of marriage to our children but what to do about the number of bad examples we are surrounded with?
The worst story so far includes my father. He left my mother 10 years ago for a mistress (after a number of affairs) and is now ‘respectfully’ remarried with a young son and a baby on the way. After all that he has done he expects me to consider his new family my own and to show love and affection to his children. Now, I’m 33 years old, have my own family and no intention to participate in his family life in such a close way. (I’m sure his wife wouldn’t want that either). On the other hand, I want my children to have some kind of a relationshiop with all the grandparents. I have no idea what to do about this and how to present complicated family relationships to children when they are old enough to ask questions. I don’t intend to tell lies to protect anyone’s feelings and reputation.
This is such a painful issue for me and my husband and I would appreciate your thoughts on how to handle it best.