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how to tell the children? 7 and 5(12 Posts)
P (ex-P) and I are in the early stages of negotiating separation, but the dcs do not know this yet. He is looking at flats and we are living together.
He is a hands-on dad and they love him very much. The not-finalised plan is that we will have shared residence / care of the dcs. They will definitely miss one of us, whichever house they are in (although we are practically alternating care already rather than P and I spending any time together).
P / exP pushed me around a bit recently, and has done before, probably about 4 or 5 times in 11 years. Police/ women's aid know about 2 of these occasions because I panicked and reported them after really nasty rows when he said he was going to "take the children" and I thought he might? / could ? and wanted a record of arguably abusive behaviour. IT was tricky to stop the police interviewing him / taking it further but I managed to persuade them not to, because I didn't want him to know I had reported him so we could stay together (wtf? I know)
anyway so I would like to know
- how best to tell the dcs?
- what on earth to tell them about why? I don't think I should be telling them about the pushing, etc
They're really playing up, they seem shattered and strung out as if they know something is up. I am pretty sure this is going to get worse before it gets better though.
I would really welcome words of wisdom from people who have been through this.
You can just tell them that you don't get along and have decided that you'll be happier separated.
Will he cooperate?
Just don't do what my mum did and ugly cry whilst trying to tell my 7 year old self that mummy and daddy where getting a divorce (the fact she was crying was what made me cry and be hysterical more than the actual divorce). It depends on your children, but there's no need for them to know about their dad pushing you. That doesn't achieve anything. Maybe phrase it along the lines of sometimes two people can still like each other as friends but can no longer live together in the same house.
I don't know how much he will cooperate with me about anything. In theory he wouldn't intentionally hurt the children. In practice, his general lack of respect for me has indirect constant negative knock-on effects on them (including that they can't live with both their parents any more, of course).
He thinks he's the boss and addresses us sometimes like a group of equals: I tell a dc to do something (nicely, with good reason); dc whinges and complains; P "mediates", by picking holes in what I have asked dc to do, or criticising me, as if we are all silly girls and he is in charge. He doesn't back me up or respect me.
How long has he been looking for flats?
I would only say anything when he actually moves out, so that they are not too messed up.
I think he has been looking a couple of weeks. He wants to move before the summer holidays. I don't know if this is realistic or not.
It makes sense that we should leave it till it happens. The thing is though, as he plans for them to live there half a week, it seems a bit odd to spring on them that they are actually moving, at least partly, with no warning.
the more I think about it the less confidence I have about his place being nice, suitable, welcoming for them, with no warning. I know the whole point is that he is leaving and I can't control him, but I hate the thought of him being left to sort out bedrooms for my little girls. I have no confidence in them being nice, or comfortable, or properly sorted out. He has never sorted out where they will sleep before; in the 3 houses we have lived in, on holiday camping, ever. That's my job.
Ugh I hate all this. I'm having visions of them crying in sleeping bags in some shitty room somewhere, 12 hours after being told the worst news of their lives.
They don't have to be told they're moving. But you can certainly wait until he actually signs a contract and pays a deposit, so you know he is moving.
BTW, give him a deadline. And at least tell the children then that you have split up, even if he doesn't move out.
He will have to sort out their rooms. It's time for him to step up as a parent. If you're worried, cancel the shared time and go for daytime contact only. At least until he gets some proper beds.
But, children in my experience don't mind sleeping bags too much.
Tell them the age appropriate truth.
Tell them about the abuse in a way they can understand.
Do not tell them "it just didn't work out" as this will suggest to them that there is nothing wrong with him throwing his weight around and controlling every one and every thing around him.there is a thread on relationships somewhere that talks about a 14yo ds who is under the impression his dad is normal despite the fact that he's nasty, manipulative and will just dump his son if he gets a better offer and leave it to the mother to break it to him.
Make sure he moves or signs a contract first, or he'll back out and make you look bad
If he has done this to you, will they be safe with him?
We told ours together. We told them a week before he left. We answered any questions and I had a book to read with them called mum and dad glue. We then had a fun distraction. We only told them when he had secured a property to go to. We visited property all together in the middle of that week so they could see it.
They were told all that kids need to know in that mummy and daddy can't live together any more as they are finding it hard to be friends. This way they can stay friends but not stay married. It's not for kids to worry about beyond that.
They were not made to stay overnight until they were ready. This was built up in day visits and then just an overnight and so on. All at my eldest's pace who was then 8. She wouldn't stay overnight for about two months. Now he lives with new partner and they go for max 3 nights at a time and she is 11 now.
It is really hard to share them and let them go but it is important they keep a relationship with both parents. The kids need to be at the forefront of what you do now not about which parent's day it is etc. Ours still do all clubs, attend parties etc regardless of who had them.
If he has done this to you, will they be safe with him?
This would be (is with exH) my concern too.
Agree to anything to get him out, but consider very carefully what will be the best for the children, based on your experience of him. Remember that in relation to children, you should act in the best way for them, not any parent, and any agreement can be changed if needs be.
Try not not think very much about whether he will make the place nice and comfortable etc. He is now responsible for making these decisions without you. In my case, exh couldn't be arsed to get proper beds or buy toothbrushes or PJ's or decorate rooms. For 2 years. And was half-arsed and lazy re contact. Until his new gf came along (thank goodness for her - and good luck to her also haha). It caused me a lot of heartache at the time but it's not your look out. What the kids need is a relationship with both parents even if he is quite rubbish at it all.
Draw up a deadline for him to be out and work towards that. If you feel the dc are aware something's not right then you probably should tell them about the split. But not about the move until all that is firmed up. Telling my dc was the most heartbreaking moment of my life - I did it alone because I couldn't trust him not to break into hysterical tears in front of them or do it totally clumsily and wrong). But we all survived (and are all absolutely OK).
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