Advanced search

Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Telling the children that it is MY decision...

(72 Posts)
jenny99 Fri 19-Apr-13 12:14:51

Sadly my marriage is over - I posted in divorce/separation that we are telling the kids today and somebody suggested asking here for advice.

It is my decision and my husband wants to tell the children that and that I am the one who is choosing to end our marriage.

I feel incredibly sad and I feel it is better to be united in telling? Although I don't want to be dishonest?

I would like to tell them that I have been unhappy for some time and we have worked on it and tried to make things better but that we have come to this decision now together.

What are other people's experience of telling the children with or without apportioning blame?

It is my choice and I accept that and repercussions but I would like to handle it the right and best way for them (aged 11 & 15) (boys).

Thank you for any input x

WoTmania Fri 19-Apr-13 16:01:58

those saying 'honesty' surely total honesty would involve explaining exactly why.
Surely they don't have to say who wants the split just that they are splitting up. I think there is a big diference between saying 'we are separating' and we both want to separate'.
As I said up thread if he wants honesty and 'blame' he should get it including OP's reason(s) for wanting to split up

itwillgetbettersoon Fri 19-Apr-13 16:05:49

My husband left me for another woman. There is no way that I would let him tell the children that it was a mutual decision. Different circumstances to yours but even if he had decided to just separate I still could not have sat there and listened to him telling the kids it was a mutual decision. I don't blame him for disagreeing with you. Some things are tough and telling the kids that their parents are splitting up is hard however it is dressed up.

WoTmania Fri 19-Apr-13 16:11:27

Looking back at the OP and bearing in mind their ages I think I would go for 'I'm very unhappy in this relationship and so we are separating as I can't stay in it'

BalloonSlayer Fri 19-Apr-13 16:12:38

Hmm, my Mum told us that it was her decision.

She said something like: "It's me that wants to break up. There's nothing wrong with your Dad, he's a nice man, but I just don't love him. I should never have married him really, but I am glad I did because I have you three wonderful children."

All true - BUT how could she have said that in front of him?

cinnamonsugar Fri 19-Apr-13 16:19:49

Or do you say mummy and daddy have decided to split for no reason
Obviously you don't. Children are not adults. They do not have a capacity to properly understand adult relationships. I totally disagree that children should necessarily be told the reasons for a marriage break-up. That is private, adult and may be completely inappropriate for children who don't have the ability to properly understand it or put it into context. I wouldn't advocate lying to children either - if they have questions, but I think too much information is passed on to very young shoulders some time. It creates an unfair situation when saying "Mummy/daddy is the one deciding/did this" and mummy/daddy can't fully give their side of the argument.

Bonsoir Fri 19-Apr-13 16:21:29

Unless their is violence or outrageous bad behaviour, best to avoid blame at the splitting stage. DC will grow up and understand their parents in the full course of time.

SunRaysthruClouds Fri 19-Apr-13 16:24:54

To start bringing blame into it at all suggests to me that your kids are in for a rough time with 'who did what to who' and where they are being asked to place their loyalties over the next couple of years. That would be the worst outcome for them.

Just tell them that things haven't been good and you will be living apart, and it is no fault of theirs etc.

My teenagers (the ones still at home anyway) were relieved to be told, as they hated the difficult atmosphere. So yours may be fully aware already.

Hopingtobehappy Fri 19-Apr-13 16:27:38

OP I completely agree with you, this is about the children, not you and your DH.

I do not understand why anyone would tell the children that it was one parents decision, that is simply not fair on the children as they will automatically feel more protective towards the 'wronged' parent.

As adults, the parents should be putting the childrens needs and feelings first, and whilst it is not right to lie to them, there are ways and means of going about things without getting them involved in what has happened between the couple.

badinage Fri 19-Apr-13 16:47:07

It's pretty much irrelevant what you 'officially' say at this stage because at their age, chances are they know and it's a fair bet your husband will tell them the truth at some point anyway.

You can be honest without blame and there's no way I'd lie to my kids just to protect the image of a partner. I expect your husband feels the same.

verygentlydoesit Fri 19-Apr-13 17:13:08

I agree with Highjinx, and I felt exactly the same.

AThingInYourLife Fri 19-Apr-13 17:27:50

But if ending the marriage is the right decision (and we have no reason to doubt that it is) then there is no blame.

Just an explanation of what is happening and (roughly) why.

I can see the argument for refusing to go into whose decision it was.

But telling lies about it being a mutual decision to protect your own image is really not on.

badinage Fri 19-Apr-13 17:37:44

Yes, it's the telling lies to children that I'm most uncomfortable with. As I recognise the poster too, there have been enough lies told already to sink a battleship. They've got to stop some time. Children don't want to deal with blame, but neither do they want to be lied to. It causes significant mistrust.

LittleFrieda Fri 19-Apr-13 17:38:20

My ex husband did this to me. sad. ALthough without warning. We told them together and then he added his own little speech along the lines of "it isn't what daddy wants, I wish it could be different blah blah ". I was speechless. Your children will be fine about your divorce if you're both fine about it. I think you need to ask him how this embellishment will help hi children.

jenny99 Fri 19-Apr-13 17:43:05

I really appreciate all the points of view here and it is really helping me think clearer before we tell them shortly...

I think it seems that if I could/should say something like this...

i have been unhappy for some time and that we have tried to make it work but we can't and for that reason we are going to live apart

We will then reassure them how much we love them etc and how they are not to blame in any way.

I can see a value in saying it is me and a value in being as honest as possible.

Do I use the 'd' word, or 'separate' or 'live apart' ? We will be doing all of those. I will be moving out but haven't found a place yet.


LittleFrieda Fri 19-Apr-13 17:45:35

Separate is a good word, it covers all options without being too definite or scary.

jenny99 Fri 19-Apr-13 17:46:11

badinage no lies at the moment. My husband knows everything. I don't want to lie to the children but I don't want to apportion blame either. As pointed out further up the thread I won't be pointing out my reasons etc and laying any blame with him.

Thank you for your input tho. Everything is taken on board x

jenny99 Fri 19-Apr-13 17:47:23

LittleFreida how did you react when he did that? What happened after that?

cinnamonsugar Fri 19-Apr-13 17:48:58

Children don't want to deal with blame, but neither do they want to be lied to.
Keeping the relationship details between the parents is not the same as lying though.

badinage Fri 19-Apr-13 17:51:38

I'd use the word 'divorce' because that's what you intend, but I'd spend far more time on explaining how this will affect them personally. Who they'll live with, when they'll see both parents, whether they'll have to make any big changes to their lives in terms of what they do or have access to, schools etc.

Personally, I wouldn't tell children until the physical separation is actually going to imminently happen i.e you moving out. Otherwise the grief is too protracted and confusing for them.

badinage Fri 19-Apr-13 17:54:25

Your form of words sounds right to me btw. I don't have any problem with parents not going into the detail, just as long as they don't tell lies. Your kids' ages are also especially relevant here. Kids of this age aren't stupid, so lies always get found out anyway.

jenny99 Fri 19-Apr-13 17:55:04

If we don't tell them till it is about to happen it presents other problems - we have bought a spare bed which is coming next week and I am moving into the spare room. That would be 'odd' to them. Also I am looking to buy something so it could be quite strained and take some time. In that time we have weekends away with family that only one of us will be going on and other occasions that we won't both be attending.

Luckily they won't have to change schools etc and I am looking for a house close by.

LittleFrieda Fri 19-Apr-13 17:56:34

Jenny99 - I was speechless. And I've been pretty much speechless about his behaviour ever since. The children were fine but definitely not aided by his victim shtick.

badinage Fri 19-Apr-13 17:56:47

Fair enough. Hope you find a house quickly. Are you going to talk to their schools?

jenny99 Fri 19-Apr-13 17:58:41

Yes. One doesn't go back until Wednesday and we are planning on emailing that we need to see his teacher before school as a matter of urgency. We will email the other school on Sunday and request a meeting with head of pastoral care and form teacher and follow up with a phone call on Monday to make an appointment.

badinage Fri 19-Apr-13 18:01:25


Good luck with the initial disclosure. As long as you both agree to answer any questions they've got in the next few days and in the weeks/months following with honesty, hopefully they'll be okay especially as the schools will be on board too.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now