Parenting after Domestic Violence

My most recent Murphy’s Love column in the Georgetowner newspaper features a letter from a dad who is struggling with feeling replaced when his son’s mother finds another man to co-parent their child.

The letter struck me with its honesty – the author admits his own mistakes (including being physically abusive with his son’s mother), and takes responsibility for the damage this has done to his relationship. Domestic violence is such a hot-button issue and so many of us have immediate biases when we hear about it, I know I certainly did. But my work with the DC Rape Crisis Center and the women at N Street Village helped me see the complicated contexts that often include domestic violence. Do not misread this, violence is never appropriate. But the abuser’s story doesn’t end when he leaves the home. The man who wrote this letter actually is working on his anger issues, but is also wondering whether he can have a relationship with his son at the same time. Redemption is a challenging concept and a wonderful ideal – but is it too risky when small children are involved? Read the whole story here.

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