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Letters From Listeners

Letting Your Sons See Bad Behavior
Dr. Laura,

I am divorced 3 years with two sons, ages 13 and 14. I was married for 12 years to a man who worked hard and provided for our family (I left my career as an engineer to be a stay-at-home mom); however I wish I had found you prior to getting married as I found I had made a mistake several years into the marriage.

My husband worked on our farm and was around, in and out of the house, all day. He would micromanage my activities and got meaner and meaner. I was told "I don't know WHAT you do all day" and "SOMEONE has to make the money around here" even though I was taking care of two active boys that were 15 months apart and we were financially stable. After having the kids and being treated like an employee, I admit I wasn't my husband's girlfriend, so I accept my contribution to the downfall. However, he became verbally abusive, would berate and criticize me which got worse over time. I tried to stay and do what I could to keep the family together, went to counseling, etc.  But the clarifying moment for me was when I realized my sons would think this is how you treat your wife and this is what a marriage is supposed to be like. I filed for divorce.

I sometimes feel guilty for making a bad choice in their father. If I'd have given the relationship more time before marrying, I would have seen the trend. Your response to the caller at the end of hour 2 on April 3 regarding allowing her sons to see her husband's bad behavior really hit home with me and reinforced that I made the right decision. My boys have asked why we divorced and I told them straight up, "You cannot treat a wife, a girlfriend, a friend, anyone, the way your dad treated me and expect them to stick around." They knew he was mean to me so they understood. I make sure and listen to your program with them in the car sometimes so they can hear your advice. Their dad doesn't live by many of your principles, if any, but I work hard to show them better morals, a better way of life, and how to be a good person and I think they're getting it.

Thanks for doing what you do.
Tags: Divorce, Family/Relationships - Children, Marriage, Parenting, Personal Responsibility, Protecting children, Values
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