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newbie here wanting advice for son not coping with divorce

(3 Posts)
datliz Tue 18-Mar-14 13:55:56

Hi all

I'm a newbie on this site so apologies if this topic has already been explored and discussed before (I'm sure it has) but I'm struggling at the moment. My ex hubby and I separated in 2009. My son was 6 at the time and I've also got twins who were 3 when we separated. The twins have adapted fairly well as they were younger. We split the childcare so I have them 4 nights a week and they are with their dad for 3 nights (or usually at his parent's house at least one of those nights when he has other things to do). My son is now 11 and isn't coping very well. He gets anxious a lot of the time, wets himself at least once a week and has told me he cries himself to sleep. He finds it hard to talk to me about things as he doesn't want to upset me. After months of waiting we finally have some intervention from school and he is going to be talking to a counsellor after Easter. He doesn't know the circumstances of our separation as I don't want to upset him (his dad was mentally abusive and bulled me amongst other things) so I've just told him we didn't love each other any more and couldn't live together.

My son thinks the world of his dad but it's putting me in a bad light because as my ex wouldn't move out, I had to move out and rent with the children so it looks like I was the one that moved out and left the family, when in reality I had no choice. When the children are with me and my partner we never say anything negative about their dad or his family (who also played their part in driving us apart) but when they've been with him for the weekend they sometimes make comments about "how I left daddy and he was really upset" and other things that make it seem like I'm the wicked witch of the west, all because I want to spare their feelings about their Dad. Am I being sensible about this or should I just be honest with them? I always said that when they were adults I would tell them the truth but maybe now they're still too young.

The main point of this thread really, although I've waffled, is that I would like to know if anyone has any tips on how I can help my son. There are no other children in his school (so he says) whose parents are separated and he feels he is totally alone in this and feels bitter and angry. Some of the work he has written in school is very dark and it's even got the teachers worried on occasion.
I'm hoping this counselling is really going to help and he is desperate to have it too as he wants to get it all out. When I spoke to his mentor at school she described it as "emotional trauma" and those words really shocked and scared me.

Sorry to have waffled on but if anyone has any experience of how I can help my son or know of any resources that will help him, please let me know. He is also unsettled with the changing of houses every week and wants to try a week with me and a week with his dad but I think that's too long without seeing them. sad
Thanks for listening.
Liz

LUKYMUM Wed 19-Mar-14 00:03:04

I'm sorry for what you're going through. I don't have much experience with this, but someone said to me it's important to tell kids the truth regarding abusive or absent parents. Otherwise they hero worship them. I'm not suggesting you regularly do this, maybe a one off to your eldest.
The idea of every other week sounds quite good. I know as an adult how unsettled I would feel juggling homes. I can't imagine being without my little boy even one night, so I empathise. But if he felt more at ease could it be a good idea? It might also give him a chance to open up to you if he's around longer when he is at home.

Wish you the best.

datliz Fri 21-Mar-14 16:16:55

Thank you. I will give it serious consideration. I know I need to put the kids needs before my own.

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