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How to tell children about separation

(14 Posts)
Ironbluemayfly Fri 12-Apr-13 00:37:51

My husband and I are about to start a 6 month trial separation. How to tell the children? Things to say/ not to say?

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 12-Apr-13 09:27:43

Tell them the truth in as age-appropriate a way as possible and do it together. They will be principally concerned that their lives will carry on the same as normal so do what you can to reassure them.... same school, same friends, same going to football on a Tuesday or whatever. Present 'two homes' as being a positive, even fun, thing. Answer any questions as honestly as you're able without going into gory details because, if you leave gaps, they will fill them in with their own imaginations. Above all, tell them that whatever happens they are the most important people in the family and are much loved. They are not at fault & the separation is because of nothing they've done.

browniebear Fri 12-Apr-13 09:38:27

What cogito said.
I took the dc's to a friends for the weekend and explained to dd (ds was only a baby) that when we got home daddy wasn't going to be living with us anymore. Dd had no question and completely changed the subject immediately so I took that as a cue to leave it for a while.

Do you think it's a trial or is it really the end? Telling them it's only temporary may confuse/upset more if they later find out later its permanent

Ironbluemayfly Fri 12-Apr-13 17:49:20

I don't know if its a trial or not yet, but it would have to be a remarkable conversion for me to want to get back together with him at the moment. There's no one else involved. The kids are 9 and 3. I'm so sad that this has had to happen - I can't bear the thought of spending so much time away from my kids.

browniebear Fri 12-Apr-13 22:11:30

Have you sorted out how much contact he will have? The time alone without the dc's will give you time to clear your head.

Ironbluemayfly Fri 12-Apr-13 22:26:16

We are doing 50/50 contact

browniebear Fri 12-Apr-13 22:57:50

And are you not happy with that?
The time my dc's have at their dads has decreased dramatically since we split nearly 2 yr ago so there's a chance it won't be 50/50 forever.

Will you both be there when you tell the dc's?

Ironbluemayfly Sat 13-Apr-13 00:25:16

We will definitely both be there to tell the kids, I'm still going to have to spend half the week away from my children. I want to be with them as much as possible and so does he

PlainBefuddled Sat 13-Apr-13 10:14:52

Until he gets a younger girlfriend who doesn't need want them around so much. I only know 2 people with 50/50 but in both cases the born again MLC playboys father's reduced the contact within a year.

UC Sat 13-Apr-13 10:39:16

Sorry to hear what you are going through Ironblue.

Regarding 50/50 - my children share their time between me and their dad, not quite 50/50. It was hard at first, but now I am used to it. You sound very sensible. The children are the product of both you and your H. My DP's ex put it well once - the children are not "hers" and they are not "his". They don't belong to either of them, and of course they both want to spend as much time as possible with them. So their DCs (my DSCs) also live with us (and my DCs) 50/50 and have done for several years, ever since we moved in together. They spend equal time with both parents, and have positive relationships with both.

I found a really good explanation of co-parenting recently - www.helpguide.org/mental/coparenting_shared_parenting_divorce.htm - I found it really helpful to think about communication between my ex and me, putting the DC's best interests at the fore.

Good luck.

TeaMakesItAllPossible Sat 13-Apr-13 10:54:39

I do 50:50 contact and have for 9 years. It does work out slightly more in my favour as my DS father travels and I got the agreement to state that we wouldn't mess around with the rota to accommodate his travel. His father has remarried and it made no difference to contact patterns other than for a few months I babysat for them to date, so my DS could be introduced at an appropriate time, but that was at his place.

It is tough and I do miss my DS terribly but I needed the space to recover from the relationship initially, then I used the time to find my life again and try out new things, now he's older he regularly pops by on a day that isn't mine or sends me messages, gives me a call so it doesn't feel so hard - he is 11 - so you might mind your oldest is similar.

The hardest thing about it is having to keep in touch with someone you have no respect for and, in my case, who was abusive in order to ensure that DS's life works for him.

<hug>

Ironbluemayfly Sat 13-Apr-13 14:56:05

I'm sorry but bitterness about your experiences isn't helpful to me at the moment. Sorry if I touched a raw nerve

june2013 Sat 13-Apr-13 17:47:17

Just wanted to say that I remember when my parents told me & my brother they were going to separate. My mum told us alone because my dad didn't want to separate. I was upset and a bit stressed about it, but I think we had seen it coming because there was a lot of arguing in the house. I was 7 when they told me and my brother 5.

I don't remember it (the separation conversation) as a stressful moment though, the arguing, shouting, etc was much harder. Mostly the emotions I remember feeling about it all were fear. So I'd suggest trying to reassure them as much as possible that you & partner still love them as much, that won't change, it's not their fault, etc etc.

We did 50/50 until my mum decided to leave the country (with us). But there was never any question about how much both our parents loved us and wanted to see us (regardless of other partners).

Good luck!

TeaMakesItAllPossible Sat 13-Apr-13 23:26:00

Sorry. I didn't mean to come across as bitter. I don't feel bitter so not sure why it's come across that way.

I was trying to reassure you about your concern about 50:50 access as you'd got the perfect answer from Cog about telling your DC. There aren't many people who do it long term as per the previous posts. My point was, whilst it is tough it isn't as hard as trying to co-parent - that involves reserves of patience and pragmatism that would be useful working for the UN. You'll be fine.

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