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Telling 7 yr old DS - Really need your input

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ALittleLost posted 5/5/2013 09:09 AM

I am sure this has been covered many times - although for some reason I haven't seen too many threads on it.

What is the age appropriate explanation for a 7 yr old? I am really conflicted. I had planned to keep it simple with "Mom and Dad had some adult issues and we worked really hard to solve them, but we could not." Now that I know he has jumped back into bed with OW #3, I am thinking maybe a more direct explanation might be appropriate. "When 2 people marry, they make promises to each other which include being life partners and not having other boyfriends/girlfriends. If either one cannot keep these promises, they cannot stay married. Yes - Daddy has a girlfriend and we are divorcing."

I am angry and extremely hurt and trying very hard not to let this influence my approach. I know it is important to let my son to continue to adore his dad and I don't intend to say anything negative until he is MUCH older (and that would be if he asks).

STBX calls at most once a week for 5-10 min. We will never again live in the same country. He may see them once or twice a year at most (although potentially for a fews weeks/maybe even months at a time - they would stay with his parents). It is likely he may not maintain much of a relationship with them.

I absolutely will not lie to him. But I don't know how much to tell him. He will feel hurt and abandoned no matter what we tell him. Dad has been gone for 5 months ... but he thinks it is for work.

Appreciate insight of those who have been there done that .....

[This message edited by ALittleLost at 9:10 AM, May 5th (Sunday)]

Zamas posted 5/5/2013 09:16 AM

I told DS7 and DD9 originally that we fought too much and couldn't make it work and that was enough for a while. About a week later I unwittingly ran into pregnant whore at the playground with my kids and made small talk with her for 10 minutes before realizing who she was. At that point I knew I couldn't keep her a secret any longer and told them everything. That he has a girlfriend and that's why he left, that there is a baby that's due in August who will be a half sibling to them. They've actually been dealing with it really well. I told their teachers what's been going in so they can watch for any different behavior while at school. I told them that it's not a secret and they can talk to anyone they want about it. I didn't want them to have to worry about keeping this inside because that's when I felt there would be a lot more damage done.

I don't think I would have told the kids all the details if I didn't think they were going to find out anyway. I wanted them to hear it from me so they would know they could always trust me and count in me to be honest with them.

newlysingle posted 5/5/2013 09:22 AM

I think I would keep it as simple as possible and leave the girlfriend part out. I think your first explanation was best. Now, if he keeps pressing, I do believe in being honest, but also age appropriate and without too much harm to the other parent.

My dd is 5 and I just had to have this conversation with her. She continues to ask often why daddy can't come home and why he doesn't love me anymore. One day, when I was being a bit short with him, she asked why I was so mean to daddy. I finally just said that daddy had done some things to mommy that weren't very nice and my feelings were really hurt. I added that I was working on forgiving him and trying to be nicer. I'm not working on forgiving him, but I have been much more civil for my dd's sake. Anyway, I question whether or not I should have even said that, but I just couldn't hide how emotional I felt at the time.

I wouldn't however mention the girlfriend until you have to, like if he's going to be meeting her.

homewrecked2011 posted 5/5/2013 12:58 PM

My children were a little older --- 15 and 12. Their counselor suggested I tell them that I found out their dad had a girlfriend and that it was unacceptable to me to stay in a marriage with this type of behavior. I also said both parents love you children very much and our separating has nothing to do with the two of you, you are both loved very much.
I also told them of my financial issues I hid from their Dad and that this was unacceptable to him to stay married to someone who wasn't honest about money.

Then I let them know every time I was headed to counseling, I took them every other week. They were stunned, but it is the truth and it is the reality, sadly, they have. I think it hurt them bc we were separated for a year b4 any decisions were made (bc I thought he left bc of the money issues but really it was bc he had her already), so they were holding on for dad to come back. Now, in just 6 months they found out he's not coming back, we divorced, the OW is their friend's mother, etc.

Also, FYI, they are just now hitting anger stage, so be prepared for this about 7 months after you tell him.

Maybe you could get him into counseling and then tell him after a couple of sessions, then you have the backup of the counselor for a couple of weeks after....

wannabenormal posted 5/5/2013 18:14 PM

We sat them down and told them mom and dad would be divorcing. They were almost 9 and about 6.5 at the time (DS was the younger).

We were pretty simple, we've decided it's best if we don't live together anymore and left the whole 'dad cheated' part out. It wasn't necessary to them at the time, you know?

I also went to bookstore for books, one was about 'dinosaurs divorcing' and that helped. I also took them to a county offered class that helped (it was a few weeks long). Kids and I also attended DivorceCare; that helped too.

Kids need to know it's not their fault, they sometimes think it always reinforce that it's not.

It is hard to leave out the 'why' sometimes, especially if the kids blame you (which mine did at times, normal). I think the parent the kids are with more get the brunt just because.

Good luck, it's not an easy conversation, but keep it simple and to a younger child's level. They'll get soon enough what the other parent did, no reason to put it out there, IMO.

If my kids ask, I say now...but I didn't back when they were younger.

ALittleLost posted 5/7/2013 10:03 AM

Thanks everyone.

I don't think DS will meet GF. My guess is their relationship will fall apart when it is truly exposed to the real world. Now that they don't have the excitement of clandestine meetings, there really isn't much they have in common. She is 16 yrs younger, unemployed and very needy.

DS is very interested in relationships and asks many questions in general about marriage, kissing, and boy/girl relationships. I think "we had some issues" may not cut it - he will dig deeper. We really didn't fight much. I think this will come as a huge surprise to DS.

The consensus seems to be as little detail as possible - so I will go with that. But as he grows older and presses, I will probably some day tell him about GF.

Ashland13 posted 5/7/2013 13:33 PM

This is so sensitive a topic and so hard. We have argued (lol, almost) about it off and on repeatedly.

At one point, Perv wanted to tell DD all of the nitty gritty but my foot went down and "Mama Bear" came rip-roaring out!

What I wanted him to understand, and some of you may argue with, is about when I lost the "KISA" ideals with my own father. Surely that will happen when DD(10.5) discovers fully what her "daddy"s been doing, anyway? I dont' know how much she knows yet, but her school is full of broken and blended families, and her BFF is from the same circumstances.

I completely agree about sparing details while you can, even though it's TTing kids, I think when it's information they may not fully understand and may cause them harm...then tiny bit of TT may be at hand.

DD asks about "what is a date"? if I play classical music and already in her early years they talk in the bathroom at school.

I think kids are smarter than we know and they know more than we think they do. And DD is showing that they can see through grown-ups who are real with them and who are not. That's happening in a big way, with NG, "Narcissist Grandma" and Perv, both.

They are really splashy with her, taking her out constantly, plying her with small gifts and promises of more...but in her every day life, who is there? Mom.

Validation came full force last week when she said, "I only feel safe with you, Mom."

I like your explanation of what being M is for the boy, but wonder if it's more than he needs to know-unless he asks? Perv wanted to tell DD right away we're not married anymore, but I asked him to hold off a little and not crush her or wreck this time of her childhood.

I wish you luck in deciding what to do. Nowadays, I ask her small things, like, "Are you okay?" and I let her come to me if she has questions, which has begun.

Last week she asked, "Who will care for me if you die? Will you die when the baby comes? Will Daddy care for me if you die or will he dump me again?"

So hard for all of our kids to be going through in their lives.

And you know how people say, "kids snap back?" I am a child of divorce, and life or people have never been the same for me. It's like the magic part of life blew up like a bubble for me the day my mother snuck off.

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