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by Abigail Van Buren

Family Estrangement Is Hard To Explain to Kids

DEAR ABBY: I am a woman who has been through a lot. I grew up thinking my grandmother was my mother, my mother was my sister, my uncle was my brother, and my own siblings my nieces and nephews. A "family issue" brought it all out in the open, and now I am estranged from my family.

My grandmother who adopted me passed away a few years ago. The issue was lies and the fact that I was molested, which is why my grandmother stepped in. How do I explain to my children, 6 and 9, that we don't have family on my side? They have been asking because my husband is very close with his own family. -- ESTRANGED IN NEW MEXICO

DEAR ESTRANGED: Your family situation is complicated, and I don't think it would be appropriate for you to reveal the details until your children are quite a bit more mature. Lies, cover-ups and child molestation are valid reasons to have distanced yourself.

In the meantime, tell them you will explain when they are older. At some point they may need the information in case any of your relatives try to contact them in the future.

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Abuse