Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Cards on the table

Speak or shut up? No question consumes me more than that one.

Ask anyone. I am not by nature circumspect. I am more likely to say more than less. I want you to understand me; I'm sure you'll like me better the more that you know about me. I like information to flow. The world will improve when every card from every deck is laid face-up on the table.

On the other hand, some things are better left unsaid.

Today Z asked what her father and I fought about. It is difficult enough for a child to witness parental fighting. Does one magnify this burden by asking her to join the fight at any level? Daddy and I fought about grown-up things. You didn't cause it; it's between the two of us, and we shall take responsibility for our stuff.....Does a five year old really need to know any more?

If I confide to Z the reasons why her dad and I fight, I imply that our issues are her concern. I give her truth, but she hasn't developed the life context through which to understand it. My children need honest information in order to best evaluate, negotiate, and thrive in this world. They also need me to withhold information that interferes with their secure development.

When emotions run strong, and I have to unload, the most likely person to be within earshot is my 14 year old daughter. I've often shared too much, but I've learned to be more careful, and considerate. I want both girls to possess the security needed to face age-appropriate challenges; how can this happen if they are coerced into my drama by what I choose to share?

A blog is not quite a journal. Not this one anyway. Even as I record thoughts close to my life, I keep essential parts out. And there are things that our children simply do not need to know.

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