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How did you tell your young children?

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NewBelle posted 7/21/2014 00:19 AM

With separation looming and my actions being the initiating factor I am seeking the "right" way to tell our children, who are young (4&6).
In my mind I see us trying to make it as gentle for them as possible by making it a joint decision as opposed to "mommy hurt daddy and now our family is broken"
I know that my betrayal has lead us to this point and that I failed to put my babies first. We have had many problems in our relationship including emotional and verbal abuse from BH but ultimately my decision to have an affair and TT is the straw that is breaking the camels back.

I am seeking advice from both the WS and BS out there who have separated.
What wording did you use? Was there blame? Did you shield your kids from the added burden of thinking one parent didn't "want" the other?
Thank you.

NewBelle posted 7/21/2014 00:27 AM

I meant to post this in the divorce/separation section. Not sure how to move it!
Oops! Sorry!

Gemini71 posted 7/21/2014 14:06 PM

In my mind I see us trying to make it as gentle for them as possible by making it a joint decision as opposed to "mommy hurt daddy and now our family is broken"

I'm going to be blunt. This kind of thinking does not make it easier on the kids, it only makes it easier on the wayward. The truth is always the best, and it will always come out eventually. There IS blame, but young kids will care less than you think.

I told my 8 year old that "People make promises to each other when they get married. Dad/Mom broke these promises to Mom/Dad. So we have decided to not be married anymore." Emphasize that this is because of problems between the parents, and has NOTHING to do with anything the kids have or have not done. Emphasize that both parents will NEVER stop loving the kids.

Give the kids time to process and ask questions. Think about some of the questions they may ask and what you'll say. "Why doesn't Dad/Mom say sorry to Mom/Dad? Why doesn't Mom/Dad forgive Dad/Mom?"

With my older kids, I explained that "everyone makes mistakes. You're Dad/Mom just made a very big mistake. And sometimes, sorry just isn't enough."

Younger kids tend to wonder more about the specifics that concern them, so hopefully their questions will be easier to answer. "Where will they live? Will they still see Mommy/Daddy? Where will they keep their toys?" My 8 year old wanted to know "Who would teach him to print papers off of the computer for school?" It may seem crazy to an adult, but that was his worry. Try to find out what their worries are and calm them as best you can.

I hope this is helpful.

[This message edited by Gemini71 at 2:09 PM, July 21st (Monday)]

Nature_Girl posted 7/21/2014 14:56 PM

I told my kids that Daddy lied to me and broke the promises he made to me when we got married. The lies and broken promises were so important that it means we cannot stay married.

I did not tell them what lies or what promises. I did not tell them what he did or what a pervert he is. Those conversations are inevitable, but until they specifically ask I'm not saying.

NewBelle posted 8/7/2014 22:49 PM

Thank you for your responses. These are words that I needed to hear from someone other than my bs. If I want to take full responsibility for my actions I must do so in ALL aspects of my life. If separation should become a reality I will bear that. If my actions cause my children to have a broken home they shouldn't grow up and enter into the life of relationships thinking that their parents gave up when the goings got tough. They should know it was because trust was broken. Perhaps it would give them a better chance at working through tough times.
your comments are very much appreciated.

Hopeful74 posted 8/7/2014 23:43 PM

I told my 16 year old the truth, who told me she knew it was going to happen (funny how much more intuitive she is than a grown ass man!). And he has yet to have a real conversation with her about it, despite the fact that I suggested she go to therapy with him, which she agreed to. And I even went so far as to give him the card of the therapist she was comfortable with. That was about a month ago and he still has not made an appointment! But I digress. My 3 year old is too young and has just accepted that daddy doesn't live here. My 9 year old kept asking why and I finally told him that daddy hurt mommy's feelings very much and I couldn't live with him anymore. He asked me what he did and I just told him that it was grown up stuff. Was it the right thing to tell him? I honestly don't know, but they have all adapted and accepted that this is the way it is now. It is not an easy conversation, but children really are resilient and it will be ok.

Numb2014 posted 8/8/2014 11:03 AM

I told my dd. ex didn't feel it was necessary as "he's never home anyways, so she wont' know the difference". So I told her that Mommy was crying because Daddy was moving out. She never asked my why. She asked her Daddy why and he told her it was because Mommy and Daddy can't work together anymore. I just comfort her and listen to her work through her emotions, and her teachers are aware and send me home daily notes.

In yesterday's note, I got "Crying because Daddy is moving out and he has a lot of stuff". It breaks my heart to read her daily notes but her teachers are a great help as well.

sparkysable posted 8/8/2014 12:08 PM

When my daughter was 4 she asked me:

DD: Did daddy used to live with us?

Me: Yes.

DD: Did daddy leave to go live with OW?

Me: Yes.

I absolutely would not lie and say that you both came to this decision. Kids are smarter than we give them credit for.

7yrsflushed posted 8/8/2014 12:47 PM

My kids were 7 and 5 when we told them. Gemini71's post covers almost word for word what I was going to say. Tell them you love them and they did nothing wrong throughout the discussion. To a child the world DOES revolve around them. They WILL think they did something wrong which is why you keep reiterating that they did nothing wrong for as long as it takes. Tell them they can ask you questions whenever they want and you will answer them.

You may want to look into counseling for them. My son was having a harder time and we eventually put him into counseling because he was acting out. He is doing much better now.

Jls0320 posted 8/8/2014 13:02 PM

I just had this talk last night with my 5 yr old, Stbx was too busy with his whore. I told him daddy and mommy were no longer living together. When he asked why I told him daddy has not been very nice to mommy, asked him if it makes him sad when people aren't nice, he said yes, asked him if he wanted to be friends with people that aren't nice to him, he said no, and I said that's why mommy and daddy can't be friends and live together anymore. I told him how much we love them etc, he can always ask questions, and be sad about it because mommy is sad to, but I feel good being around people who are nice to me. He cried and asked to call daddy, who was too busy to answer, but it went well and he was good this morning and even talked to his 2 yr old brother about our talk last night. Not sure if I did it right but he seems ok and I can't lie to them anymore :(

Runninggirl911 posted 8/8/2014 14:31 PM

We took the kids to a nearby playground, one they've never been to and most likely will never go to. I didn't want the "news" to invade their safe place which was and still is our home.

It was My ex who had the affair and chose to leave for his new woman so I insisted that HE be the one to break the news and I would be there to support the kids.

We talked to a therapist about it beforehand and she suggested that we not place blame but instead focus on them having "two houses".

We explained that we love them very much and mommy and daddy would always work as a team to make sure they had everything they needed.

Hardest conversation I've ever been a part of. My kids were 2, 8 and 10 at the time.

Be prepared for all sorts of emotions but most importantly show respect to the other parent. It will set the tone for future interactions which will be plenty because you share children with that person.

Good luck.

Weatherly posted 8/8/2014 16:06 PM

I told my boys that when people get married, they make promises. And, when those promises are broken, you can decide not to be married anymore. That was enough for awhile. They eventually asked what the promises were, and I said that you promise not to date other people, and X broke that promise.

I recently had to give my BIL this same advice, and he told his 5 and 3 yr old, he said it went well.

I want my children to take marriage seriously, and not think it is disposable. So, it was important to me that i told them more than just "Well, we fight". Now, as they've gotten older, they understand a bit more, and have seen dad move from one bedroom to the next without even a night between, so they've been able to put it into a context of "this isn't ok, it ruins relationships."

And, since the behavior hasn't stopped, I'm glad I didn't shield them.

BaltimoreBlues posted 8/9/2014 10:48 AM

How do you tell your young children without breaking down?

My wayward wife and I are still in limbo but I rehearse the separation/divorce speech to my kids in my head and every time I break down crying.

How can they believe things are going to be ok if I can't make it through without crying?

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