Recently I found out the my father touched my niece inappropriately. My brother found out and forced my father to go for therapy. Now I'm confused. How do I react when my father calls to say hello? Do I even allow him to visit and see my kids? Am I supposed to shut him out of our lives?
When someone you love turns out to be a pedophile, you have heavy decisions to make. Some decide to turn against their relatives. Some choose to ignore it in hopes the problem will go away.
Should I cut all ties? Have phone calls only? Supervised visits? None are easy decisions to make. Whatever you decide, you cannot let him be alone with your children. Period.
Some choose not to cut all ties. If that is your choice, let your dad know that you love him, that you care about him, but you also love and care about your kids.
For everyone's sake, his included, he is not to be alone with ANY child.
Yes, that means babysitting Dad at family functions. Fun? No. But he doesn't get to choose the consequences of his actions. He knew he was taking that risk when he touched your niece inappropriately. He knew he was potentially putting you all in an awkward situation.
He just hoped he wouldn't get caught.
Of course, if you choose phone calls only or no visits at all, you don't have to worry about any inappropriate touching.
But you may have to worry about what he tells the kids.
A good friend of mine lets her dad talk to her kids - but that's it. He has to talk on speaker phone because he often tries to make the parents look like the bad guys. He blames the parents when the child asks "Grandpa, why can't I see you?"
"Well, if your dad and mom would only let me visit, we COULD see each other!"
This same man sends letters and gifts in the mail - which the parents feel is a way for him to buy his way into their children's hearts. All the while he tells his kids he is only trying to keep a relationship with them. Maybe he is, but my friend has to constantly remind good ol' Dad that they haven't forgotten what he did - and what he openly admits that he still wants to do - to other little girls.
The decision is yours. The truly repentant pedophile is hard to find... especially if he was forced to go to therapy.
My suggestion? Pray about it. Talk about it with your family. Make sure the therapy he is going to really is a quality program - not just one that gives molesters new ideas.
If you decide to let him visit, be proactive. You are your children's only protection. Educate your kids on what a safe and unsafe touch is, the difference between a safe secret and an unsafe secret. Let them know that they don't have to share their bodies with anyone, and that they should never be alone in a room with Grandpa.
Good luck. This is never an easy choice to make.
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