In All Seriousness

posted by Momo Fali on August 7, 2008

When I was my daughter’s age there were two things I wanted more than anything. A turtle and a paper route. What? A turtle seemed like a reasonable pet and a paper route seemed a decent way to earn enough money to play Pac-Man at the Pizza Pizza Restaurant up the street. You’ll never guess what kind of food they served.

My Mom wouldn’t let me have a turtle, but after many tears and tantrums, she caved into the paper route. It lasted about two months before I quit. But, I would have been so disappointed had I not had the experience.

My nine year old daughter has recently had her first run-in with real disappointment. A person we thought was very kind, has chosen to hurt someone we love dearly. I won’t get into the details, as juicy as they may be, because that is not the point. I will say there is hurt, there is back-stabbing, and there are attorneys.

But, the details don’t apply. My child was deceived, and that is all that matters.

This deception wasn’t by another child, but by an adult. Someone who made herself out to be sweet and caring. Someone who spoke to my daughter with affection and attentiveness. Someone who made herself out to be someone she obviously is not.

How do you explain that to a nine year old? How do you instill good morals when there are people in your life who have none? How do you teach your children to trust people, when those whom you’ve trusted are completely untrustworthy?

I really don’t know what to say to her. I don’t know how to explain that what she saw is not what she gets. That the person she thought she knew, was not that person at all.

My daughter doesn’t deserve that kind of disappointment. At an age when she’s still fascinated by rainbows, these are the true colors I’d rather she not see.

    Comments

  • debbi/kurtsmom


    sounds like a mom’s gonna kick some time to me.

  • Tom


    You’re not going to tell us what kind of food the Pizza Pizza Restaurant served? It’s on the tip of my tongue.

    As you said, in all seriousness, I would hate to be in your position. My wife and I had someone like this in our lives, but we are adults. I don’t know how you tell a kid something like that while still attempting to keep them innocent.

  • Momo Fali


    Tom,

    Exactly. I am trying to preserve her innocence and I just don’t know how to do it.

  • DYSFUNCTIONAL MOM


    That would have to be so hard to deal with. It’s hard enough as an adult!
    And I’m so sorry you could never have a turtle.
    I LOVE turtles.

  • Rachel


    That is so awful. I’m sorry that you’re daughter and you are dealing with this.
    I have to tell you though, that last line about rainbows and true colors… pure poetry honey. That touched my heart.

  • Melisa


    It’s a tough situation. I was very close with somebody a few years back and my kids adored her, and she did some awful things that made it necessary for me to cut contact with her. I didn’t want to tell my kids the gory details but they just couldn’t understand why they weren’t going to see this woman who was like an aunt to them, ever again. (My kids were 12 and 9 at the time) I had to explain to them in VERY VAGUE terms that sometimes people act in disappointing ways and aren’t who we thought they were. My kids asked about it/her for about 18 months!! It’s one of those things that (hopefully, depending on your exact situation) you just do the best you can in explaining without really explaining, and the kids will move on from there; takes time.

  • Heather


    It took my daughter years to understand that just because someone says they are your friend, and are nice to your face, doesn’t mean they aren’t saying things behind your back. She still (at 14)has a hard time believing any of HER friends ever lie about anything. I don’t want her to be jaded at such a young age, but I don’t want her to grow up naive and the one everybody knows they can take advantage of.

    I’m sure your daughter knows some people can be trusted like Mom and Dad, and that maybe some people just aren’t nice people. At 9, she should already have some understanding of that, and that doesn’t mean everybody is a bad person. She probably understands real life more than you think.

  • Tenakim


    That is tough! Without knowing the details, I would probably try to put it as gently to her as possible- even if that means hiding ugly details. You don’t want her to think that SHE has done something wrong or even that you are withholding something from her- I think the way you put it to us is a perfect way to tell her!

  • Lisa@verybusymomwith4


    I’m sorry your daughter has to deal with this. I cannot stand adults who are mean/wrong to kids. It’s just wrong!

  • Stacey @Real World Mom


    I am so sorry that you and your family are going through such a difficult situation. Although I have no words of wisdom to offer, I am keeping you in my thoughts!

  • feather nester


    Wow, that last line was VERY well put.

    I’m sorry you and your daughter have to go through this. I’m sure you’ll find a way to help it become a constructive, learning experience for her (gosh, that sounds trite, I hope you can distill the sentiment), rather than just a pointless heartbreak. Hugs.

  • Misty


    poor thing…
    Unfortunately my daughter learned the disappointment of people, before she learned much anything else. Even so, I still have no idea how to help find a restorative balance for her…

  • Kori


    I think that if you express to her the same things you expressed to us, she will be okay. And I guess I am too cynical, but I don’t think there is any way to keep your child’s innocence intact. Not all of it, anyway. Even though we as parents WANT to. Life interferes; all we get to do is help our kids navigate it as best as we can, and I think you are an awesome mom who is up to the task.

  • Bean


    Amen to the last line. Very well said.

  • chefmom


    This post made me SO sad and SO ANGRY. How can someone live with themselves for deceiving a child?! I hope she gets what she deserves. As for explaining this to your daughter, That’s a tough call. Do you tell her that not everone appears or “acts” like they truly are? But then she might fear that of every person she meets. I sadly, have no advice..Sorry. I don’t know what I would do in this situation. My first thought would be to open a can of Momo-whoop-ass.
    Even without advice, I’m here to support you 🙂
    ANd could you PLEASE tell us what kind of food the Pizza Pizza restaurant served?? (Hope that made you chuckle…sound like you need it!)

  • Twenty Four At Heart


    We had a situation come up where a close family friend betrayed us terribly. Specifically, this friend betrayed one of our kids who adored them, held them on a pedestal. There was no way to preserve innocence at that point. It was time for an honest talk about disappointment, betrayal, dishonesty. It broke my heart to see the confusion and hurt from my child. HOWEVER … we all survived it and tough as it was, it was a lesson in the realities of life. That didn’t make it any less painful – but it was a lesson that would have to be learned eventually anyway. Not everyone is what they pretend to be.

  • Ashley


    Oh no! I’m so sorry…I hope you can find the words you want.

  • mammadawg.com


    🙁 That’s a tough one…

    I don’t even know the story behind all this and I want to WRING the NECK of the so-called WOMAN who did this to your 9 year old.

    But she isn’t what matters… it’s your daughter.

    And all I can think of, is honesty and gentleness.

    I tell my boys that some people in this world aren’t as good-hearted as they appear… but they are one in a million because even if this world and the people in it aren’t all perfect, it doesn’t mean they’re all bad, either.

    (sigh) And I remind them that while we can’t always control what happens to us or around us, we can control how we react to it. That we can choose if we’re going to let them get the best of us or not.

    But how to preserve her precious innocence in all of this???

    Girl – you got me. But I’ll be praying that the right answer comes to you. And quickly.

  • Xbox4NappyRash


    Horrible bloody world we live in.

  • Jaina


    I don’t know what that woman did, but I’m so sorry that she caused your family pain, especially your daughter. I’m not sure what advice to offer, other than some people are bad people who pretend to be nice people. But to explain that to a nine year old? That is simply not something she should have to learn at such a tender age. How dare adults do things to hurt children. It really pisses me off.

  • Birdie


    I’m so sorry she had to learn that at such an early age and that your family has to go through legal matters because of it. Trust in people, once broken, is a hard thing to regain. Kids are naturally trusting so maybe she will see that not everyone does things like that. I was raised not to trust people other than family so other than my fam, I don’t trust too many to this day. Not completely.

  • Half-Past Kissin' Time


    My kids have always been protected from most of the crappy things going on in the world. My son learned a life lesson several years back, when he played Runescape on line and was “robbed” by someone who stole his identity and cleaned out his “bank account.” He cried; he was so hurt by such meanness. It was a life lesson (don’t give out your password) and sad to see him realize there are mean people in the world, but it was at least fake money and an inexpensive lesson. I hope your daughter’s situation becomes a teachable moment, and not a scar. P.S. Loved that last line…

  • the planet of janet


    this kind of thing makes me SO sad. there just doesn’t seem to be a way to keep our children innocent as long as we would like them to be.

    great post. your last line is one for the quote books.

  • AlisonH


    As long as she knows her family is there for her no matter what. I like the point made above that she not be allowed to think this is her fault, which children so often automatically do.

    I’m thinking of the nursing assistant I wrote about on Sunday: sometimes the best thing we can do for ourselves, and the person at fault, is to put it in God’s hands and try to wish that person well. What I didn’t say on my blog, was, I first apologized to God that I didn’t actually want to pray for the abusive NA. But I did, feebly, and it all came out okay.

    Sometimes it takes years for prayers to be answered, and sometimes we’re the only ones who allow them to be answered, not the ones we’re praying for–but it helps so much to try.

  • Mz. Nesbit


    hmm, I think I would just keep it real simple. Tell her that sometimes it just happens that bad people are born. And sometimes those bad people are wolves in sheep’s clothing. But she didn’t do anything wrong and that it is ok for her to continue to be nice and loving to everyone she meets.
    or you could lie and say the person is crazy and they didn’t intend to be mean.
    :o(
    ((hugs))

  • The Laundress


    I’m so sorry that you are going through this right now.

    All I can say is that what your daughter needs to know, (not just that there are mean people in the world) is that no matter what happens in her life. She always has her mom to catch her. To hold her and to protect her from her fears.

    Unfortunately, there are creeps all over the place, but knowing she has you makes it just a little easier.

    (I’m not saying she doesn’t know that already, I am saying that you are doing all you can to show her she is protected…all she needs is you)

  • Immoral Matriarch


    I have no advice, but I’m very sorry.

  • A Shade Of Scorpio


    Oh it must have been hard to put the boxing gloves down for this one. I have a 9 year old girl too and she is constantly being disappointed by an adult. (HERE we make it anonymous. On my blog he’s all out exposed- but I’ll spare it while commenting in someone else’s!) It’s hard to find the right words to make them feel better, except basically, that no doubt, – their mama will always be there for them.

  • LiteralDan


    That sounds like a pretty tough situation. The best you can hope for is to use this exception to prove the rule, and to really help bring all your lessons (and your personal example) home for her. Good luck dealing with this.

  • holly


    sorry babes, nine is getting into the age of ‘she’s starting to find out.’ the fact that you are there for her is the thing that will help.

    no silliness at all in this comment. i am as shocked as you are.

  • Smart A$$ Mom


    You’ve got yourself a lot of advice, so I will just say you can only help her by telling her disappointments happen. good luck to you both.

  • Monica


    Sounds awful. I’m sure she’ll come through just fine — she’s got a thoughtful mama who is showing her that life is sometimes heartbreaking, but love endures.

  • Ashley Ladd


    Hugs. Someone who used to mean a lot to us did the same to my kids. I’m so sorry.

  • Ed (zoesdad)


    I had a turtle. I’m not bragging, just saying–they’re kind of stinky! Just like many people in this world.

  • piper of love


    I think I would just explain that the lady must be really unhappy on the inside to act that way.

    That’s the way I handle the disappointments my kids get from certain people.

    Try to turn it around as a learning lesson, all Leave it to Beaver like.

  • meleah rebeccah


    My daughter doesn’t deserve that kind of disappointment. At an age when she’s still fascinated by rainbows, these are the true colors I’d rather she not see.

    EXCELLENT PARAGRAPH

    No, she doesn’t deserve that. This is terrible. I know how you feel about wanting to protect her innocence and trust in the good in people. Im sorry this happened!

  • Jamie Willow


    sometimes when you see someone behave in a way that is opposite of what you teach your kids it is a good opportunity to show them why the way you are teaching them is so important. your daughter will learn how important it is to keep her word because of how she was treated. sometimes disappointments and hard things can be good teachers for what is really important. your daughter will have better character in the long run for experiences like this and how she chooses to handle them as well. doesn’t make it any easier to handle at the time of course 🙂

  • Brittany


    I would be equally dissappointed, what a horrible situation for a child to be in, shame on that person!

  • Mama Dawg


    Oh, man, so sorry. I hate when the wee ones have to learn terrible life lessons at such a young age.

  • Tara R.


    I’m sorry your daughter is having to deal with this kind of disappointment, regardless of her age. Adults can be so very selfish sometimes.

  • Jamie E


    so sorry, hang in there.

  • Jared


    There’s always that one person that has to make life difficult… That’s why I chain myself to my computer. 😀 I can always turn it off if it makes me mad. 😀

  • mammadawg.com


    Hey girl – on a lighter note…

    Roll on by when you get a chance – I’ve got some bling for ya 😉

  • Jo Beaufoix


    So sad. I so want to protect my kids from this kind of stuff as long as I can, but I know at some time it will hit. 🙁

  • nola


    Yipes. What a terrible thing. So sorry. Which I had good advise to offer…. 🙂

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