Father treats children differently

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    I have two non-identical twin boys, 10 years old. I separated from their father 3 years ago, and divorced a year ago. The boys see him alternate weekends and half the holidays.  They want to go, and I want them to have a relationship with him.  However the visit must be quite stressful because both of them are having toileting accidents when they are with him.  Last time he got so mad that he held the soiled pants in front of my son’s face and said (amongst other things) “when puppies make a mess, they have their noses rubbed in it”, while holding my son by his neck.  The boys told me this when they came back home.  I got so concerned that I asked him to repeat this and have recorded this. After telling me this, my son said “is this child abuse”?  He was very distressed.

    The issue is that his brother  is “daddy’s boy” (I don’t have a problem with this – I know he loves me etc) and tends to defend his dad when his brother raises issues like this. He interjected and said “daddy wasn’t really going to do it”.  Sadly he doesn’t recognise that the very threat is beyond the pale, and I can’t say what I really think because then I’m criticising their dad.  Even friends have commented that their father treats the boys differently and tries to drive a wedge between them.  He is a narcissistic alcoholic with “anger management issues”.  Some years ago he went to counselling for alcoholism and anger management, and I really thought that he had changed, but in fact he just found more clever ways of controlling.

    a) How can I support my sons in the face of this?  I can’t tell their father what the boys say, because he will take it out on them and the boys will stop telling me anything.

    b) How can I prevent the father from driving a wedge between the two boys?




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