My Sister And I Are At Odds Over Her Abuser Boyfriend!
I have two daughters who are 6 and 8. They like to spend time at my sister’s house with their cousins who are around the same age. About a year ago, my sister’s boyfriend—who is also her kids’ father—beat her up pretty badly. I thought that was the end of the relationship, but they are back together. I don’t think my girls are in any sort of physical danger, but you never know. I put a stop to them going over to her house without me. Now my sister is mad at me. She says that her boyfriend would never hurt a child and that I’m overreacting. I’m not exactly confident about that and I don’t want my daughters to be a test case. Is there anything I can do to smooth things over?
Dear Feeling confused:
Believe it or not this question (or at least a variation of it) has come across the desk of Good Enough Mother before. In my mind, there are not a whole lot of shades of gray here; I am firmly in your corner. So here’s what I would do if I were you.
TELL YOUR SISTER TOO BAD!
Your job is to prepare your kids for the world outside their front door. It’s also to protect them until they are capable of doing that for themselves. At 6 and 8 they are not, which means that duty falls squarely on you. You have to put their safety, mental and physical, ahead of your sister and her feelings. She’s grown woman.. if she wants to stay with a loser who doesn’t respect her enough to keep his hands off her, that’s her decision. But you need to protect your kids from that. End of story.