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My Ex Has Cooked Up an Elaborate Lie About Our Children’ Pet

Pricey Care and Feeding,

My ex-husband and I’ve a usually amicable co-parenting relationship, and we hardly ever have points concerning our daughter (6) and son (4). Nonetheless, I can’t ignore his current conduct, and I’m at a loss on the best way to reply. Two years in the past, after we divorced and he moved to his personal place, he let the children get two guinea pigs, one for every of them. To be clear, I’m effective with this—my ex loves animals and takes care of the guinea pigs, the children are completely happy to have pets, and I’ve even pet-sat whereas he was on a piece journey. Nonetheless, when my ex dropped the children off at my place for the week, he mentioned that if our daughter mentioned that her guinea pig (Pumpkin) went lacking, I ought to “go together with it,” however he really had discovered it lifeless in its cage that morning.

He was planning to go to the pet retailer, get a brand new one which appeared the identical (not onerous, since Pumpkin was utterly orange), and maintain it in a separate cage whereas letting it get to know the opposite guinea pig. By the point the children return, he plans to simply inform them that he had discovered Pumpkin once more. The pets imply lots to our youngsters, and he thinks getting the guinea pigs actually helped make his new home a second house for them. My daughter has been speaking about how Dad promised he would seek for Pumpkin the whole time they had been with me, and I maintain picturing her feeling betrayed about this in a decade or growing belief points when she learns that Pumpkin is definitely Pumpkin II. Ought to I come clear? I don’t need to deceive my children, however I additionally don’t need to create battle with their dad. Would it not actually be horrible to go together with the lie?

—Riddled With Rodent Guilt in Richmond

Pricey Riddled,

It’s like your ex resides in a foul sitcom plot. I get that you just don’t need to combat with him about this, however he actually shouldn’t misinform your 6-year-old about what occurred to her beloved Pumpkin, and also you shouldn’t go together with it. This deception is beneath each of you.

I’m undecided what you’ve mentioned, if something, when your daughter talks about her “lacking” pet, however in any case, I might let your ex know that you just aren’t snug with letting her proceed to consider that Pumpkin remains to be alive. Inform him that he ought to come clear and say that Pumpkin is gone. Although this mess isn’t of your making, you can supply to be there to offer your children with extra assist throughout this dialog. Is it going to be onerous to inform them the reality? Sure, nevertheless it’s additionally the suitable factor to do—your ex can’t simply maintain mendacity and changing guinea pigs till your kids attain maturity.

Nobody needs to have to interrupt such unhappy information to their children. Nevertheless it’s vital to be trustworthy with them about this loss, and provides them an opportunity to grieve. There are one million books and articles on the market about speaking to younger kids who’ve misplaced a pet; listed here are only a few. I believe your ex ought to do some studying and put together to have a tough, trustworthy, however vital dialog together with your daughter.

—Nicole

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