It’s too soon to tell young daughter about abusive grandfather

A reader who was abused as a teenager is considering telling her young daughter about the experience. Be wary of overloading such a young mind, Carolyn Hax warns.



February 18, 2022 - 3:35 PM

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Dear Carolyn: I was emotionally and sexually abused by my stepfather from the age of 15 to 18, when I became pregnant by him. I kept my daughter and moved away from that side of my family, who wanted to sweep it all under a rug. I live with my father and stepmother now. My father had moved away and I didn’t really see him much until this happened, but he took me in. I’m still working through all of this with a therapist.

My daughter is 4 now and asking questions about her father. I planned to tell her that someone did provide the other half of her DNA along with mine, but that the person who provides it is not always meant to be your family. I will say he was not nice enough to be her dad and some people just aren’t nice.

My therapist is suggesting I don’t tell her that right now, but I disagree. She’s a good therapist but I feel she’s wrong on this one.

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