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Telling the kids we are separating

(24 Posts)
SuddenRealisation Thu 16-Mar-17 19:06:25

Any advice on telling our 3 dc we are separating?
I am waiting for a council house so may be a while till we actually live in separate houses. The rest of the extended family know..
I want to start preparing the dc for the changes ahead. All very amicable and we are determined to parent 50/50 and still spend time together with the dc too.

SuddenRealisation Thu 16-Mar-17 19:36:55


Grannyben Thu 16-Mar-17 19:38:32

How old are your children?

TheCakes Thu 16-Mar-17 19:40:32

Do you need to tell them now? It could be quite unsettling if they don't know where they are going to live or what contact arrangements are. I'd be inclined to wait till you know those things, so you can offer firm reassurance. Is that an option for you?

SuddenRealisation Thu 16-Mar-17 20:49:24

They are 5, 7 and 9.. I had considered waiting till I had a house. But if it's a council house the move may have to happen quite quickly.. I don't want to just tell them and then have to move quickly before they're fully used to the idea...

Naomics Thu 16-Mar-17 21:30:05

I'm telling my 3 boys tomorrow, same age as yours. Absolutely dreading it! Their dad is leaving this weekend though, going to his mums so somewhere familiar to them.

SuddenRealisation Thu 16-Mar-17 21:36:20

Naomics- good luck, hope it goes ok xx

RiverdaleJughead Thu 16-Mar-17 23:25:50

Sit them down, be honest and tell them about what's happening . Let them react or cope however they can. My family had a right go at me when I was told because I just picked my book up again and started reading with my arm around my dog and simultaneously crying. They said I didn't care but I was just trying to cope with the gut wrench and not start screaming. It won't be easy, it'll break your heart but you just have to do what you can to help them and let them react x

SuddenRealisation Fri 17-Mar-17 09:14:51

Thanks river, however they react I will support them 100%. I have tried to imagine how I would feel at their age and it's like your parents are your world when you're so young..
I don't want them to be upset but they will be. I'll just try and reassure them it's not anything they've done, we both love them and their happiness is the most important thing to us.

RiverdaleJughead Fri 17-Mar-17 13:10:16

Absolutely the right way to go , also a decent pudding that night always helps cheer them up a bit ;) Good Luck, I hope it goes okayx <3

SuddenRealisation Fri 17-Mar-17 15:24:14

Good plan, thank you smile

Doneitagain1968 Fri 17-Mar-17 16:21:23

I've got to tell my 5 year old DS that me and his dad are separating (not married) and me and DS will be moving back to my own house (about 45 mins away from EX) and he will be starting a new school after Easter holidays - dreading it his world is going to be turned upside down - he does know my old house (adult DD living there at the moment but is moving out) and adult DS going to be moving in a couple of weeks after me and DS and all my family and friends live around us but still this is probably the hardest most heartbreaking conversation I'm ever going to have.

SuddenRealisation Fri 17-Mar-17 22:52:00

Doneit - hope it goes ok. I'm unsure as to whether my 4yo will understand, which is worrying me

MirandaWest Fri 17-Mar-17 22:54:53

XH and I separated when the Dc were 7 and 5. It went better than expected - they are now 13 and 11 and seem all right about things still

Doneitagain1968 Fri 17-Mar-17 23:10:21

Sudden wish you luck to - I have a week until I have to do it - ds isn't quite 5 yet & he's very emotional at the best of times and a new school is going to be a massive change - feel sick at the thought of it

WayWithWords Fri 17-Mar-17 23:15:24

Children are amazingly resilient. It's much easier when they're younger.

I remember telling mine (when aged 4 and 3) a couple of years ago. The 3-y-o was too young to understand but the 4-y-o got it immediately. Because they are younger, there was no immediate reaction like you'd expect from an older child. The reaction did come, but later - some weeks/months later, in the form of unexpected tantrums and the odd emotional outburst. I'd been expecting a meltdown on the spot, but that just didn't happen. It was a relief, as we all had time to process it slowly and the big drama I'd been expecting on the day just never materialised.

Best piece of advice I can give is to really own the news and make it ok in your head. If you show you're ok with it, that it will be a good thing, and you are feeling calm (even if you're not feeling it inside!), the kids will follow your lead. They will look to you for their emotional guide. If you're ok, they're ok.

That's not to say they won't be upset (especially if they have to change schools, Doneit, which will be challenging) but basically you need to be their rock. If they know you have their back, they will feel it's ok.

A good thing can be to try to do an activity when you tell them (I chose to be sitting in a park - not a park we go to often - but somewhere out in the open and therefore not too stifling) when I told them, and then planned another separate activity (coffee shop outing) immediately after. The aim is to impart the important information in a non-dramatic way, but in a place where you can have a bit of privacy, and where the kids can be busy with something physical. If you sit them down on the sofa and tell them eyeball-to-eyeball that can be quite overwhelming for young kids.

Anyway, 2 years on we're all in a great place. House much calmer, kids in a firm routine, the 4-y-o (now 6) even remembers clearly events that took place "when daddy still lived here", but doesn't get upset about it. They've processed it and moved on, and so have I.

Good luck.

Nomi33 Sat 18-Mar-17 06:46:04

Told my boys last night, went Ok....completely agree with waywithwords you need to be confident and keep it brief and not get upset. I literally said me and dad have decided we need sometime apart and he will be staying at Grandma's etc. We all went to the beach after and then watched a film. Said to my husband it took a break-up for us all to do something nice as a family which highlighted we were still doing the right thing.

My 5 year old did not really get it, my 7 year old was brilliant actually and very matter of fact, my 9 year old struggled and later in the evening said but if its not my fault why is dad leaving us?

It was really tough and really sad but you just have to remember why you are doing it. I do feel relieved but equally anxious about what the future will be like and that the boys will be OK.

Doneitagain1968 Sat 18-Mar-17 07:27:54

Thanks Waywith and Nomi - I'm very close to Ds I don't think I'll talk about the school just that me and him are moving to mummy's house

SuddenRealisation Sat 18-Mar-17 22:42:35

Thanks for the tips, we will try to remain calm and positive about the changes ahead.
And I will avoid eyeballing them on the sofa smile

ohforfoxsake Sat 18-Mar-17 22:54:37

They probably know more than you think.

I simply said we didnt love each other any more and couldn't stay married.

What's important is that you are available to them in the coming days. If they ask questions answer honestly and openly, but don't over-share.

mehimthem Sat 18-Mar-17 23:05:09

Not sure if I've understood OP properly but are you going to tell the kids with both of you there - that may help with any immediate questions your kids may have & help in reassuring them is all amicable etc. Depends how you & your DH are getting on now though. As, when my DH & I separated DH told our boys what was going to happen when I was away one afternoon, they ended up with quite emotive stuff told to them which wasnt actually happening & were pretty upset (boys were 13, 9 & 7) esp when their Dad had told them I was moving away without them b/c I didnt want them anymore. Good luck with it all, hard whatever is happening.

SuddenRealisation Sat 18-Mar-17 23:12:57

Meh - that wasn't very nice of your ex!
Yes, we are very amicable, we love each other as best friends and will tell them together.

ohforfoxsake Sun 19-Mar-17 10:52:10

Sudden Good luck today

ohforfoxsake Sun 19-Mar-17 11:37:00

I bought 'Oh the places you'll go' and read that a fair few times with them. Introduces the idea of good times, bad times, and getting out the otherside.

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