How did you break the news to your children, that Daddy was leaving?

(68 Posts)
Lemmingswife Wed 28-Jun-06 16:45:06

Just over two weeks ago, my husband & myself decided that our marriage had come to an end and it would be best for us to seperate.
He is still living at home atm, but is soon moving out & going to stay with a friend until our house is sold.
We have two young boys aged 3 & 6, who adore their Daddy so much. We haven't told them anything yet, but H wants this to be my job.
It is tearing me apart, as they ask where he is all the time when he is at work, or at the pub with his friends.
I am dreading breaking the news to them & possibly breaking their hearts in the process.
I was wondering how others went about it & what kind of affect it had on their children.
I would be grateful of any advice.

lou33 Wed 28-Jun-06 16:46:30

we told them together, to make sure they knew we both still loved them, that it was nothing they had done, and that mummy and daddy couldnt live with each other anymore

tortoise Wed 28-Jun-06 16:47:31

I dont see why its your job.I think you need to both talk to them together.Mine where to young to explain it to when xp left.
As long as they know mummy and daddy still love them and its nothing to do with them.
Good luck.

sugarfree Wed 28-Jun-06 16:48:32

No personal experience but I really do think it is a job for both parents if at all possible.
Sorry you're having to go through this

Lemmingswife Wed 28-Jun-06 16:57:56

I agree that it should really be done together, but H says that he will break the news to his Mum & he wants me to break the news to the boys. He also thinks I shouldn't do it until he has left, which I am not 100% happy about.
Lou, how did your children react to the news?

Caligula Wed 28-Jun-06 17:04:03

I agree with Lou, this is not your responsibility, it's your joint responsibility to tell them. By telling them together you're emphasising the fact that you're still both their parents, you're still both responsible for them and you both still love them.

lou33 Wed 28-Jun-06 17:05:09

no he should be there too, he is copping out and trying to avoid seeing them upset, which they obviously will be

we told them and it didnt seem to sink in, they seemed to think he was just going away for a bit, so we gently reinforced the point that he wasnt going to live here anymore

they were heartbroken, it was the hardest thing i have ever done, watching their faces crumple, but we were both there to reassure them that we both loved them very very much and that would never change

they were upset too on the day he left but they have coped v well, and seem pretty happy all in all

mine are 14, 9, 7, 5 and we split in november

LadyTamba Wed 28-Jun-06 17:06:51

Dh and I have been seperated for nearly 3 weeks, My boys are 2 and 4 and I havent told them. They seem to have just accepted without question that daddy sleeps at nannys, but they see him everyday anyway so im not sure how much anything has changed for them. When theyve been with H they have just thought it was fun sleeping a nannys. I dont know whether I should really explain anything to them when they seem to be doing so well as they are.

lou33 Wed 28-Jun-06 17:10:07

i think at some point you will have to tamba, your oldest will eventually ask when is daddy coming back, so you need to plan what to say when that time comes

Lemmingswife Wed 28-Jun-06 17:18:52

I think my 3 year old is a little young to really understand, but my 6 year old is very sensitive & has just made a comment while eating his tea, that he doesn't want us to sell our house & how some children in his class do not have their Daddy at home & go & see them after school.
I told him that this happens sometimes when Mummy's & Daddy's stop loving each other, but that they still see lots of both Mummy & Daddy and that they still love their children just as much.
To this he said "Well I don't want you & Daddy to stop loving each other, because I remember how he shouted at you & you cried, but I saw Daddy hugging you, so I don't have to worry."
He is obviously really sensing something, but his comment just now has upset me so much.
This is so horrible.

lou33 Wed 28-Jun-06 17:25:59

it is painful, but you have to remember that kids of that age see it so much simpler, and if you are going to make it as easy as possible, you and your h need to explain together, so they can hear from both of you that nothing has changed wrt your feelings for them

kids are resiliant creatures, they will be ok

CountessDracula Wed 28-Jun-06 17:31:37

Well coming from a child's point of view, I still remember quite clearly my parents telling me together. They explained that they didn't want to live together any more but that it didn't mean they didn't love us any less and that it was nothing we had done, but that mummmys and daddys sometimes just didn't get on so well any more and it was better for all of us if Daddy moved out.

I think I would have found it very odd if they couldn't have told us together.

You need to present a united front to the children, odd as it may sound when the result is division. If you don't then they may start blaming themselves in some way, they need to hear it straight from both of you

Lemmingswife Wed 28-Jun-06 17:46:14

I will try my best to get him to agree that we should tell them together. You are right, he shouldn't cop out completely.

CountessDracula Wed 28-Jun-06 17:46:52

I mean, breaking it to his MUM? Big deal tbh, compared to the kids!

Lemmingswife Wed 28-Jun-06 17:49:12

Well yes, you are right! He says his Mum will be devastated, which I have no doubts about, but they are his children as much as they are mine & he should take a little of the responsibility.

lou33 Wed 28-Jun-06 17:49:29

he shouldnt cop out at all

my dad did that when i was 7, i came home from school (latch key kid) to an empty house and found the note saying he had gone

that's not something i would wish on my kids

SenoraPostrophe Wed 28-Jun-06 17:50:03

oh god, this brings back memories.

unlike the countess, I was told about it by mum alone. and yes, I think it would have been easier coming from both of them. it won't be easy whatever you do.

Lemmingswife Wed 28-Jun-06 17:50:12

That must have been so horrible for you, Lou.

CountessDracula Wed 28-Jun-06 17:50:27

I'm sure his mum will be devastated but I'm sure she is old enough to cope. It is not her he lives with/plays with on a day to day basis is it?

Lemmingswife Wed 28-Jun-06 17:54:57

This is just going to be the worst thing ever.
My Mum came out with the very supportive comment of "Well they are now going to be those children without a Dad"
I told her that they would always have a Dad, he just wouldn't be living with us.
I feel so terrible for my boys.

lou33 Wed 28-Jun-06 17:55:11

it wasnt nice

the point it my father took the easy option for him, and didnt think of the kids

your h is trying to avoid seeing their reaction by doing a similar thing

sod his mum, she's an adult ffs

Lemmingswife Wed 28-Jun-06 17:56:38

I agree, Lou. He clearly doesn't want to be a part of the horrible process.

CountessDracula Wed 28-Jun-06 17:57:32

Lemmingswife don't feel bad, tbh it was a relief as my dad was such a grumpy sod. we still saw him every day and then we got a fab stepfather and they were best friends and it all worked out for the better. Kids ARE resiliant - they don't want to see their parents unhappy and if you are then splitting up may be the best thing for ALL of you.

lou33 Wed 28-Jun-06 17:58:46

yes i agree

in hindsight it was the best thing my father ever did for me, buggering off

bundle Wed 28-Jun-06 17:59:45

I agree with lou. His mum is his mum, so yes he should tell her. Your children are your children and you really need to do this together. Your little boy is obviously picking up on tensions and the comments re: separated parents are common at his age (dd1 talks about this sort of stuff all the time). I think you owe it to them and yourselves to be honest (at an age-appropriate level) and constantly reassure them that they are the most important people in both your lives, during this difficult and upsetting time

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