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Hi I'm new...explaining divorce to a child.

Posted by on Dec. 3, 2011 at 12:10 PM
  • 20 Replies

How does one go about it? 

My daughter is 6 and I'm nervous about it. We have agreed to wait till after the holidays to tell her and make Christmas as normal as possible....

How did you go about talking to the kids?

Bring on the wonder, bring on the song, I pushed you down deep in my soul for too long.

by on Dec. 3, 2011 at 12:10 PM
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Replies (1-10):
cara124
by Cara on Dec. 3, 2011 at 12:18 PM

I was as honest as possible with my kids...... i would sit her down and explain that you both love her but you can no longer live together...

Sheraymonet
by on Dec. 3, 2011 at 12:27 PM

Yea...I'm worried how she will take it...

I have so much on my mind right now with so many things up in the air....ugh

M4LG5
by Silver Member on Dec. 3, 2011 at 12:50 PM
I'm with you.....i have 3 girls that I will need to explain separation to if things don't get better. They are 8 and 5 yr old twins. My 8 yr old is not his biological daughter but he has been daddy since she was 2.5.
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easinpc
by Silver Member on Dec. 3, 2011 at 7:52 PM

Hi.  First of all welcome to our group.  Secondly to tell your child I would recommend both of you sitting down with her and telling her that while you both love her very much and will continue to be there for her that you are going to be moving into two separate homes.  She will have two separate families from now on and try to keep it on an age appropraite level for her.  Keep reminding here that you both love her, will be there for her, and that it was not her fault.  If she has a hard time coping with it I would recommend finding a therapist in your area that she can talk to and try and sort out all her feelings. 

chellenout
by on Dec. 3, 2011 at 8:05 PM

Welcome and Condolences 1st of all.  I would make sure " he " is honest with her in his explanation.  You also need to be honest with your explanation about the divorce.  My ex wanted me to tell them on my own but I had done it so many times before that I was fed up and made him, YES... MADE HIM tell them, and he cried even then  saying ... " why do I have to tell them, why can't you do it " .   In front of them he says this so I reply to him, in front of the kids ... " because you are the only one who wants this divorce, not me , not us, because you want to kiss other women..."  He burst out crying even louder !!! I got tired of being the bearer of bad news to my children.  

Honestly

donnadea
by on Dec. 3, 2011 at 10:26 PM
with my older kids they understood what was happening kind of already cuz they went thru it when their dad and i got divorced. But my youngest ... We seperated when he was almost 4. His dad is remarried now and has another kid and my son goes and sees him every other weekend and some holidays. He still asks why dont you live with daddy any more? When will daddy come back to live with us and why does he live with her? I have tried to explain it, dad tries to explain, even gramma and grampa have tried to explain. He just doesnt get it. All i can say is divorce is not a normal thing that is supposed to happen and its hard for anyone to understand. On friday when dad came to pick him up he asked him again... When are you moving in with us? Dad said im not i live with her now etc etc. Ds announced to his father that he doesnt want to go over there with her any more and that baby sister is a brat and he wants to stay with mom this weekend. I could tell his feelings were hurt but he said ok... See you next time
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Sheraymonet
by on Dec. 4, 2011 at 11:55 AM


Quoting chellenout:

Welcome and Condolences 1st of all.  I would make sure " he " is honest with her in his explanation.  You also need to be honest with your explanation about the divorce.  My ex wanted me to tell them on my own but I had done it so many times before that I was fed up and made him, YES... MADE HIM tell them, and he cried even then  saying ... " why do I have to tell them, why can't you do it " .   In front of them he says this so I reply to him, in front of the kids ... " because you are the only one who wants this divorce, not me , not us, because you want to kiss other women..."  He burst out crying even louder !!! I got tired of being the bearer of bad news to my children.  

Honestly

I think this is maybe what I will be dealing with. 

Bring on the wonder, bring on the song, I pushed you down deep in my soul for too long.

BraysMama08
by on Dec. 4, 2011 at 4:01 PM
1 mom liked this

I think either of you can go to your local library and find some kid books on divorce.  There are some GREAT books out there for younger kids that make it easier to understand the situation.  The two of you could explain the divorce together, and go over the book [s] with her together.  I recommend together so it doesn't look like it's just coming from one of you, or neither of you feel like the other might have portray each other in a bad light.

You and he can sit down with her and explain that you both love her.  And that even though you both love her very much, you two just can't get along anymore and it is better for everyone like this.  That is has nothing to do with her or  your love for her.  That isn't not a bad thing for her and that a lot of other families go through this, though it's not something that we want to happen sometimes it needs to and that is okay.  That sometimes a mommy and daddy just stop getting along because they're change over the years [or more positive that mommy and daddy would get along much better this way].  Just keep reassuring that it's not her and that you both still love her, etc.

Maybe try to cheer her up with the fact that she will still get to see the both of you, just not together.  That she'll have two rooms, she'll get two Christmas', possibly two birthday parties [not sure how you guys get along], etc.  That she'll have specially mommy time and special daddy time. *This is where a lot of the books also help.

I personally don't think a child needs to know the details of why there is a divorce.  That can lead to, "mommy/daddy why did you do that to us?"  That is absolutely not the child's business.  That little seed gets in there head and they can start thinking of other questions that don't need to be asked by a minor child.  The little seed could remembered when they're a little older and start leading to resentment of the parent who did something to cause the final straw in the divorce, or whatever.  Neither parent should potray the other in a negative way in front of the kids, period.

The kids go through emotionally even when it's a friendly, mutual divorce.  They do not need the added stress of the parents details.  Believe me, you can think that you're hiding your stress but kids still sense it and are affected by it.  They don't need to see any finger pointing, etc.  If they have questions, keep it as general and as positive as possible... if you have to making the situation better than it is and avoid certain details to a question they ask, do it.  They're kids, not adults... they are not emotionally mature for the 100% of a divorce that has nothing to do with them.

I speak from experience of being very young and going through this with my parents.  My dad handled it how he should have, my mom did not and told me things she should have never told me... at least not until I was a mature adult where my dad was comfortable sharing his side with me when I asked.  My mother's actions planted seeds in my head and growing up I had a very rocky relationship with my dad, and then with my step-mom, her two children, and eventually my half brother - because I was a kid and let my resentment affect everything.  Guess what parents, NOT worth it.

impetuous1
by on Dec. 4, 2011 at 4:12 PM

I think it's important not to place blame. I have a 7 yr old and would never try to tarnish her relationship with her dad. He and I have grown-up issues and conflicts that I don't even want her to think about for years. I don't understand the advantage to laying adult issues at the feet of children. Her dad might throw me under the bus and sling mud and he wouldn't even be wrong about a lot of it, but it wouldn't serve our daughter at all.

The important thing for me to reassure her of at this point is that we both love her very much and will always be there for her. When she is ready for more, I will explain to her that I had to leave him because I wasn't being the best person I could be, and that women are strong enough to follow their dreams. When she is older, I hope I can explain that I had finally realized that I needed to model the kind of bravery and independence that I want her to have. I watched my mother be broken down for 30 years, and I love her and respect her but my biggest fear was feeling trapped and insignificant. Yet here I am, 10 years deep, feeling like a place holder in a life I didn't choose. 

She will be sad, and it's not unlikely that she will assign blame anyway. But she doesn't need or want to know all the gory details of why grown-up relationships fail, only how it will affect her. You know your daughter best. Good luck!!

sheka1
by on Dec. 4, 2011 at 4:49 PM

 Just sit her down & explain that you both love her very much but that Mommy & Daddy will no longer be living together.  Reassure her she will still be able to spend time with her Daddy & also be sure to reassure her that it is not her fault.

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