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Raising Children with Parents in Prison For the Parent left behind with children AND for the Children that have a parent inside. Discussion of unique challenges facing this group!

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  #1  
Old 08-09-2012, 08:16 PM
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I've got to admit this site makes me shake my head. I don't know why anyone would be proud to have a loved one in prison. I'm 28 years old and my 3 year olds father is in prison for robbing pharmacies. I think he's a coward and took the easy way out, not a man in my eyes. I really don't care whether he's having a hard time but I do care about making the right choice as a parent. He's never been much help since my daughter was born but he wants me to bring her to visit. Kingston Penitentiary is intimidating all around. I would like to know from CHILDREN of parents that where incarcerated what impact it had on you growing up seeing your parent in jail. Personally I think she's better off without him at all but then again I realize after reading some of these threads that jail is actually a lifestyle choice for some. I could also use some advice on how to explain to her why daddy is on a big long time out. He will be in there until she is 10. Help me help her please. I keep his canteen full and I write him but that's about all I can bring myself to do. It's hard to feel sorry for him when he left us on our own. At least he doesn't have to worry where his next meal is coming from.
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Old 08-09-2012, 08:27 PM
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I don't think anybody is here is proud of the fact that their loved one is locked up. It's just a place I come to vent. To find others going through the same thing.


I take our children to visit their dad but only after he was in a minimum. I don't put money on his books though. I have more important things to worry about like raising out kids while he is gone.

Our son who is older knows he broke the rules and is in prison. Where he is going to school and learning to be a better person.
I tell our 3 year old he is in time out and learning to be a better daddy and husband.

Hopefully you can find some support here.

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Old 08-09-2012, 09:10 PM
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I agree with forever99, I highly doubt any of us here on PTO are proud cause our loved ones are in prison and apart from us. Its a place we come for support, advice & sometimes comfort. Its easier to talk to others that are in the same situation as us. I too have a 3yr old lil girl & he's been gone since she was 2months old & I have never taken her to see her daddy. For me personally its not a place I want to expose my daughter too; not that its wrong but I just chose not to take her & my love agrees with me 100%. She has a very strong bond with her daddy & knows him thru pics & calls; she will get to see him this Sunday when he is released and is very much excited to meet daddy! Although or wait is not as long as urs the best advice I could give u is to constantly talk to ur daughter about her dad, show her pics, write or draw him letters to send. Its not our childrens fault that their dads r in 'time out'. Prison isn't a lifestyle for everyone, sometimes people make stupid mistakes & some can learn from them.

I am sure u will find the support and advice here! Best of luck
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Old 08-10-2012, 12:47 AM
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Definitely NOT proud! But everyone does have to decide if they will stick by their man's side thru the good times and bad (even though these are definitely bad). Just because someone is in jail does not mean they are all bad fathers or husbands or boyfriends or sons or whatever. They made their choice for them that got them in there. That does not mean we have to abandon them completely. I love my man with all my heart and is is a GREAT guy!! There is no one else I would rather spend my life with. No he is not in for anything violent and did not harm another person, but everyone has their own reasons for what they did. So I love this site because you can get information that you would not normally get and you get great support for anything and everything here.
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Old 08-10-2012, 01:22 AM
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I am not proud that my son did time or that my son to be husband is finishing his. I am not proud of what they did and both want to make a better life. Neither of them think "jail is lifestyle choice".
But I am not ashamed. Their crime is not my crime. I do nothing wrong by loving, forgiving and giving a second chance.
As far as your daughter, the truth is ALWAYS the best, if sometimes the hardest choice.
And I want to share a story with you. Another inmate who is incarcerated with my fiancee went to prison when his daughter was very young, before school. He had little face to face time with her (until she turned 16 and could push the issue) but he wrote and called religiously to her.
She's a grown women today and her dad is a changed man, partially because he wanted to become a man his daughter could be proud of.
He paroles just a week before my husband and will go to live with that daughter, at her request. Most times when I see her at visiting, its because she has come to get her daddy's advice about something or just to vent about life.
Can a father and a child have a good relationship while he is behind bars. Yes if 1) you allow it and 2) He invests in it.
That said, your daughters father hasn't got a good track record. Tell him to prove himself with letters and cards and phone calls and then you'll consider visits.
BTW I dont come to this site to BRAG about my man being in prison, or my son when he was. I come to brag about the kind of man my husband is, even though hes in prison.
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  #6  
Old 08-11-2012, 03:45 AM
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Speaking personally in my experience, I hate that my sons father is incarcerated. It's an embarrassment when people ask. I sent him money twice and made it clear I would never again since I am providing him a place once he's out. I didn't tell my son his dad was in prison I told him that he could explain it to him. When your child is old enough then it will be easier. That is a long time and my prayers go out to you everyone's situation is different. My sons father fought to stay out of prison and find a stable job, he's not proud of not being able to support his child or leaving us here. You don't have to feel sorry for him. He did the crime and now is suffering for it. Explain it simply and honestly as you can you don't have to say he's in prison. My now 4yo still doesn't understand when we visit but he misses his dad. There is nothing like being alone for years with no one, you can decide to bring your child. It has strengthened their relationship and at the end of the day, it's better to have a father making an effort than none at all. I speak from my own experience. This is a place for support and comfort. You care about your child and do what you feel is in her best interests not the anger and frustration you have toward him. Do what you can when you can.
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Old 08-11-2012, 09:38 AM
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Our son was born during his father's incarceration. I brought him to visit every visit I went on for 8 + yrs. It kept them connected & I hoped it would make life easier when Mr was released. Mr made the choice to return to drug use (which he'd always said he never used..but...) Now, NO visits. My personal choice to keep my children (2 now) protected from lies & poor choices. Also jr's choice to not see his father because he's so hurt by Mr's choices.
Every situation is different & things change sometimes. Maybe some day in the future they will have a relationship again. He's still their father & he's not all terrible, just bad choices have consequences at this time. He put the kids in danger on several occassions. Their safety comes first to me.
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Old 08-11-2012, 10:45 AM
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my son was older when his dad went to prison. He did visit him while in county and when he finally went to prison.
He was fully aware of what his dad did (or some of it anyway..long story and not applicable here)
I think he was angry with his dad. Mad as hell. But he did visit, and write once in a while, talked on the phone.
But he was also a teenager.

For a young child, Im not sure its a great idea to spill it all. For one, she likely woudnt understand.
Time out because he broke the rules is about all you can say.
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Old 08-11-2012, 11:52 AM
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I am a single mom. My son's favorite uncle and hero and only father figure at the time, was sent to prison for a life sentence for murder.

I had decided that I would just tell him that his uncle had done something very wrong and had to go to a place to do his time out. My son was 4. He accepted my story and was OK with it.

Then someone else decided that he had the "right" to know the facts. That person sat him down and gave him all the gorey details- moment to moment description of what happened, etc. I was livid because I planned to give him only age appropriate information and kept him away from news media.

I never took him to visit. I did not think it was clean enough for one thing. The other inmates were strangers to me and I did not feel comfortable with a crowd of people who had done similar things.

When he would ask me why did uncle R do that? I would state the truth: "no one knows why he did it. Even he does not know why he did it".

I tried to keep him focused on the good memories he has of his uncle, and there were many. We often looked at the pictures taken at some wonderful events where he and his uncle were playing together. I tried to keep him focused on the fact that his uncle loved him very much- which was the truth.

As the years went by, my son said he wanted to visit. I asked him why. He said to find out why he did it. His plan was to ask his uncle why he did it- so I wrote him a letter and explained. He sent us 2 visitor forms, one for me, one for my son.

By the time the paperwork was completed and we were approved, my son changed his mind and did not want to go. So we didn't.

I don't think there is any right or wrong answer. I think it depends on the relationship and the child.
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Old 08-11-2012, 12:48 PM
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This is probably one of the hardest decisions to make.. What to tell, and when. Visit or not to visit. My children were all over the age of 8. They had lived and seen what an addiction had done to their father. In that case, the truth was best. My girls saw him in county, often. They have not visited the prison and had a contact visit, partly because of the prison, when we got the o.k. from them, we decided that with the time remaining (one year),we could make it work, without exposing them to that experience. And we have. I can't give you any advice, because it is a very personal decision. I do like with the younger children, time out, (they all understand that) and 'school'.
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Old 08-27-2012, 10:46 PM
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My kids still don't know that their dad is in jail. I can't tell them that. My son was only an infant and my daughter was 2. But I think one of the family members slipped and told my daughter because oneday the babysitter told me she said my daddy is in jail. (YIKES)
I just say daddy is working out far away right now. He'll be back soon.... umm it's been over 3 years now my son is turning 4...and I feel bad because I can tell that he's mad that his dad is not around. Even when his dad calls he runs away from the phone. His daughter loves him dearly and will always be a daddy's girl.
I just hope and pray everyday that this doesn't become an issue when they get older. It will break my heart if my son follows his dad's footstep.
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Old 08-30-2012, 12:13 AM
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I am WAY not proud! I am still in the middle of my storm though! My husband is a very loving, caring, friendly family man and a hard worker. Has never smoked a cigarette in his life, never tried any drugs, never drinks, and has never even had a detention in school and was an all around good, wholesome person! But he FINALLY made a mistake at the age of 25, with a beautiful home, a wife, and two kids at stake! A mistake that he never thought would lead to this and he is crying every day and scared out of his mind. Prison will eat him alive! We dont know what his sentencing is yet, we find out next month. But i am ashamed of him and embarrassed of him. People do make bad choices at times, and the one time he makes one it results in this. I dont know what we will do, but its going to be hell for awhile, i know that! And that is the one thing that makes me most angry is that he did this to our children! How could he put our children in a situation like this! Its maddening and sickening! But we have NO choice but to go through it!

I dont have a parent incarcerated, but my siblings do. Their father was put away for raping his children and my sister was one of them. I believe he got 25 years. I will say that my sister still sees him, and still talks to him. He is her father. A child needs their dad and its unfortunate it has to be under this circumstance or under these conditions. I will say to that it influences a child so much. My sister and brothers are sooo very messed up! And it makes me so angry and sad, because i see how good they could have done and all the potential they have and they were just lost, their whole lives, and they are a mess now. My sister is an alcoholic, with hpv her father gave to her, she is bipolar and also claims to be a lesbian but cheats on her gf with men. So now her sexual orientation is messed up. My one brother is ADHD and has severe anger problems, he also does drugs, and he wet the bed until he was 12 due to emotional distress, my other brother could have a PHD by now he is so intelligent and is going to school to be an analytical scientist now, but still doing drugs, now has his own life drama he is dealing with and has commitment issue and trusts no one ever!! He also use to hate women even his own mother and i was the only person he had ever told he loved!

I know not all of it was their fathers fault! But had he been there! I dont think they would be this messed up!!
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Old 09-09-2012, 01:17 PM
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i am not proud that my fiancé, father of my children is currently locked up but its not my fault and its not our childrens fault and it is definitely not a lifestyle choice for any of us, although i do agree that some people treat it as one, but my fiancé should not be locked up right now,a so called friend of his lied and then a judge decided to make an example of him, so i don't feel like he needs to be punished anymore then he already his by keeping his children away from him, i have always kept our oldest right by my side through all of this, i found out i was pregnant with our youngest after he got arrested and that was the hardest thing i ever had to go through, my whole pregnancy and labor without him, we have always talked about bringing the kids to see him and i never really thought twice about it, although some people think i should not be exposing my kids to that type of environment but i don't think there is anything wrong with it, they should have a relationship with their father and the visiting room is very kid friendly with toys and games and the COs are very nice and interact with everyone including the kids, but he is at a nonviolent younger offenders facility, so the other inmates didn't commit heinous crimes but just made wrong choices, this is my first experience with anyone being locked up and its also the first for like everyone else around me too, so i come to PTO for support and advice because i have no one else to relate to or turn to for advice, not to brag, we have always planned on being honest with our children about daddy, but age appropriately, our kids are still very young and have yet to grasp any idea of anything that has happened but it will still be awhile before daddy comes home
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Old 09-09-2012, 06:53 PM
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I agree with the other parents here. We come here for support, love, and guidance. I don't know of any of us who are proud where they are at this moment we just are parents doing the best we can. When my brother went to prison off and on he left my niece who was a toddler and by the time he finally grew up and changed she was a teenager. Yes I am her aunt but she considers me her mom. We kept it simple and plain and age appropriate. Let her make the calls if she wanted to talk on phone or visit or whatever we just listened to her. I am sure you are in the anger stage right now and it is ok to be angry and mad. Just know this we are all here for support. Lots of prayers and hugs to you and your family.
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Old 09-26-2012, 10:07 PM
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My boys were 6 and 1 when their Dad went to prison. My oldest knew where he was but didn't know why. Living in two different states has complicated our lives greatly but I refuse to put money on his books and I have not accepted calls from him since he was in county. My boys are now 14 and 9 and I have never taken them to the prison. I loved their Dad with all my heart but I refuse to make prison part of any routine in our lives. My boys ask about him but not excessively and although they want a Dad I think they understand theirs isn't what they want. He is a violent offender and he still has 13 years to go. My biggest fear is that he will try to contact them, not for love but to use them and get whatever he can from them. He will lie and cheat them for anything to benefit himself. I just pray that I've given them a stable enough foundation to walk away.
With all that being said, only you can decide. But if he wasn't really there before and wants to now...question why!! Does he just want $$ or to maintain some kind of hold on you? Is he only stepping up now because it benefits him? Because if the answer is yes, it will only hurt your daughter worse when she's older and sees her Dad actually walk away. Cut off the money and tell him to prove himself...if he does...try...if he doesn't...at least you know now what his intentions actually were.
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Old 10-10-2012, 12:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stellala View Post
I've got to admit this site makes me shake my head. I don't know why anyone would be proud to have a loved one in prison. I'm 28 years old and my 3 year olds father is in prison for robbing pharmacies. I think he's a coward and took the easy way out, not a man in my eyes. I really don't care whether he's having a hard time but I do care about making the right choice as a parent. He's never been much help since my daughter was born but he wants me to bring her to visit. Kingston Penitentiary is intimidating all around. I would like to know from CHILDREN of parents that where incarcerated what impact it had on you growing up seeing your parent in jail. Personally I think she's better off without him at all but then again I realize after reading some of these threads that jail is actually a lifestyle choice for some. I could also use some advice on how to explain to her why daddy is on a big long time out. He will be in there until she is 10. Help me help her please. I keep his canteen full and I write him but that's about all I can bring myself to do. It's hard to feel sorry for him when he left us on our own. At least he doesn't have to worry where his next meal is coming from.
I'm not a child of a prisoner (or have a child with a parent in prison), but for what it's worth, here's what the research says about this topic:
- it seems like it's generally better to tell kids the truth about where their parent is (though of course you know your child best).

- Bringing kids to visits with their parent in prison seems to be a) always good for the person inside but, b) only sometimes a good thing for children. The things that make it more likely for the visit to be a good experience for the child is when they are prepared for what will happen, when the visit is child-focused, and when there's emotional support for the child during and after.

- Kids who have a parent in prison are at a *slightly* higher risk of showing anti-social behaviour (getting in trouble at school, acting out, getting into trouble with the law) and having some mental health concerns. BUT! that doesn't mean that every child of a prisoner will have these problems - far from it. The parenting and support they receive makes all the difference. It just may mean that it's worth having extra supports in place - things like school/homework support, community social worker or counselling, recreational activities etc etc.
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Old 10-10-2012, 05:00 PM
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I am not and never will be proud that my son is in prison HOWEVER that being said, he is still my son and I AM PROUD OF THAT. I am proud of the person that he is becoming and the man that he will be someday. How could you ever be ashamed of anyone?? Ashamed means felling shame, guilt or disgrace. I will never feel those things because he made the choices and did the things he did to be in bad situations where people could accuse him of things. Why would I feel shame over that?? And if you are ashamed of him perhaps you are better of walking away from him. A person in prison needs positive support... Not shame or negativity...
When you ask how we could be proud?? Do NOT judge anyone until you have walked in their shoes..
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Last edited by JuliannRN; 10-10-2012 at 05:17 PM.. Reason: edited due to someone correctign me on the title
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Old 10-10-2012, 05:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JuliannRN
WOW! Your title says Ashamed of my Son..Yet you are 28 years old... why are you ashamed of your son? Your son is three. Are you ashamed because his dad is in prison? Well you are the one who made the decision to procreate with a man who robbed pharmacies. You should be ashamed of yourself if anyone.. Surely not your son...
First of all, why would you come here if you are SMH at this site?
I am not and never will be proud that my son is in prison HOWEVER that being said, he is still my son and I AM PROUD OF THAT. I am proud of the person that he is becoming and the man that he will be someday. How could you ever be ashamed of your child?? Ashamed means felling shame, guilt or disgrace. I will never feel those things because he made the choices and did the things he did to be in bad situations where people could accuse him of things. Why would I feel shame over that??
When you ask how we could be proud?? Do NOT judge anyone until you have walked in their shoes..
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Admin shortened the name to make it better. Lmao. It used to say sons father.

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Old 10-29-2012, 02:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JuliannRN View Post
I am not and never will be proud that my son is in prison HOWEVER that being said, he is still my son and I AM PROUD OF THAT. I am proud of the person that he is becoming and the man that he will be someday. How could you ever be ashamed of anyone?? Ashamed means felling shame, guilt or disgrace. I will never feel those things because he made the choices and did the things he did to be in bad situations where people could accuse him of things. Why would I feel shame over that?? And if you are ashamed of him perhaps you are better of walking away from him. A person in prison needs positive support... Not shame or negativity...
When you ask how we could be proud?? Do NOT judge anyone until you have walked in their shoes..
Sincerely,
A VERY PROUD MOTHER!
I have thoroughly disected this site throughout the last 4 months and have not once read or even felt the slightest of an innuendo that someone was "proud" that their loved one was in prison. I would had been turned off by even a hint of such a message. This site is about love and pain and the anguish that all of our family's are experiencing, it's a revolving door, as one member grows a newby walks in. When I first joined I was numb. It was intense. It impact can't be appreciated until you have lived it. It's like trying to explain to a childless adult the joy of being a parent. Until they have had their own they'll never get it. It's impossible to understand the depth of the bond between mother and child if you are not one. I am proud that my son is standing tall in one of the the most terrifying scenarios someone could imagine for theirself, learning humility, finding the courage to look others in the eye again, trying to find his way as he has finally realized just how lost he was, amongst many other things. Yes I am very proud of my son. I will stand next to him with dignity. A definition of proud is honor and to be pleased, amongst others (let's say if one was to broaden their intelligence). I am pleased to see my son trying to restore his honor and choose to grow from this experience, trying not to become bitter, resentful and be full of hostility.
Your negative influence you wish to pass on to your child's father is going to become her pain in many ways. He's not going have the positive influences, noone to help him believe in hisself and that he does have value and worth. He may not have value to you but he will to your child as she grows up, he's very worthy and valuable to her. That's her father. You may consider removing yourself from his influences until you can heal your own self and move past your own bitterness, resentment. Then you go back and teach that child how to stand with grace in the face of the ugliest of situations life brings you and you carry on strong. Trust me, my son's father, he was a piece of work, I wanted to lash out many a times about the pain he caused our family, but I knewe from first hand experience where that would get me...See your question about incarcerated parents in your post, I was one of them kids and loved my father deeply. My father took his last breath in a prison and to this day I cry for him and pray he found his peace. Do you want to know who I felt anger for, that would be my mother who was a very responsible, successful, hard working woman who raised me by myself. Even though she made all those sacrifices to provide for me, I resented her for not allowing me to really know him. So there you got it, that's your future. Ha, you think you're shaking your head now, wait till then. For the record, I did not tell my son, who was just sentenced to 11 years in prison last month, about my father until after he died. So it's not like he learned his behavior from watching his grandfather as he never had the knowledge of his existence until after his death. I seemed to of drawn the short straw on the aspect of sharing the pain and anguish that comes with having a loved one in prison. You asked for opinions on this matter so I'll be quite honest. It was 30 years ago and I still recall my mother and her friend in a car with me in the back hearing them up there talking poorly about my father, amongst other times. I still hold hurt feelings towards her for being so heartless and carefree to bad mouth him. To say I feel resentment may be a bit to strong at this point in my life. I'd never tell her that ever, she worked to hard to care for me all alone. I will never forget she was so critical of my father.. The sad thing is I'm sure whatever she was saying about him was true and I'd probably be angry if I was her to, but see, I was his kid. Her complaints about him had zero significance to me compared to the hurt she caused me by attacking who he was. How could my mother not want to be supportive of something so important to me. Her bitterness for him would not allow her to be the mother that I needed. she was free to be there for me and she wasn't for the thing that hurt me the most when I was a child. I know it doesn't seem fair and it may not be, but it is what it is.
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wishona (01-21-2013)
  #20  
Old 10-29-2012, 02:22 AM
Izzy's Mom Izzy's Mom is offline
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You may consider stop filling his canteen or at least cutting it back, that alone will help cut back on some of the biterness.
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  #21  
Old 10-29-2012, 03:25 AM
yme6995 yme6995 is offline
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I'm sorry Izzy's Mom for everything you have had to go through...I honestly am. I just have a couple of questions for....and please don't be defensive as I am just trying to understand. You said you're upset with your mother for not allowing you to have a relationship with your father. Wouldn't it be fair to say your father took that away, not your mother? Your father made his choice and if he wanted to be a father, he would have made better decisions. I try my hardest everyday not to badmouth my kids dad but it's hard. While he is existing, I'm trying to survive. I'm trying to raise his kids while his concern is him. I don't want my kids to feel like you do. I don't want my kids to look down at me for trying to do what's best for them. You're words hurt and scare me.
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