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Will my divorce DEFINITELY fuck my DCs up?

(52 Posts)
Jezzabelle Tue 09-Dec-14 23:22:20

Separated from my DH a few months ago. It's a long story, (isn't it always?!) which I'll save for another thread. My DDs (8 and 6) adore their daddy, he still comes to help put them to bed most nights and is here at the weekends as he is just staying at a friends at the moment. The kids like him being there and, (despite everyone telling me that it "must be difficult") it's working ok for me. DH is very depressed and I have been worried about him.

We explained to the DDs that we were splitting up from the off. They know Daddy is looking for somewhere to live. We told them together and explained that we were still friends and still both cared about them very much etc etc. They know they are allowed to ask questions whenever they want and they do. The thing is, all I want through all this is to have 2 children that are not utterly wounded by this. I would like them to grow up and be able to say that we did alright and be able to see that they're not emotionally crippled! Is this too much to ask? Just Googles amicable divorce and children and most of the hits said that divorce ALWAYS damages children, (although I did notice that they were mainly from Daily Mail and catholic websites).

Any positive stories welcome, (please!)

TurnOverTheTv Tue 09-Dec-14 23:24:43

Don't listen to shite on Google. I split from my husband, amicably, both re married, still friends, lots of contact, no problem.

Jezzabelle Tue 09-Dec-14 23:31:26

Thank you TurnOver, your short post made me well up with happiness!!! Clearly, I am slightly on the edge at the moment! I can go through all the inevitable pain and heartbreak, just don't want to drag my kids through it with me.

meglet Tue 09-Dec-14 23:33:47

Miserable parents sticking together for the sake of the children fucks them up.

And your current set up with your H sounds stable, he hasn't buggered off so would stick to co-parenting I presume? I really wouldn't worry what google says.

AlwaysLurking38 Tue 09-Dec-14 23:44:50

Pay no attention to google or the internet. My parents divorce hasn't fucked up me or my siblings. And their divorce and split was awful. So don't worry about it, your children will be fine smile

Jezzabelle Tue 09-Dec-14 23:47:09

When he gets a place of his own, we'll cut down on weekday visits but they'll go there for "sleepovers", probably every other weekend. I still want to do the school play/parents' evening thing together and he'll be welcome at Christmas/birthdays etc. So many of my friends just seem to think the set up is a bit odd. Think they're more familiar with the "can't stand the sight of him" thing. Of course there's hurt and sadness but we do try to keep difficult conversations for when the children aren't around. I want it all to be nice as possible really!!!

I grew up with the miserable parents who stuck together for the sake of the kids meglet. Not a nice place to be it is true.

Jezzabelle Tue 09-Dec-14 23:48:42

Just read your post Always. I'm glad you're not fucked up! Thanks for sharing!

AlwaysLurking38 Tue 09-Dec-14 23:52:34

Posted too soon --- my dad refused to sign the papers for years, stopped paying the mortgage and bills, used to ring us up screaming at us about what a "cock sucking slag" my mum was, we used to see him once a week for a meal and he'd spend tbd entire two hours either berating us or snivelling about how he didn't deserve this. Oh and the phone calls telling us he was going to kill himself. My youngest sister was 7 at the time.

Despite all of that we have turned out ok smile my youngest sister is a proper sweetheart, she really one of the nicest people I know. The only thing out of all of this that has "fucked" her up is she has a tendency to let people be shit to her and not stand up for herself, but we're slowly showing her she doesn't have to take grief off anyone.

Sounds like you and your ex are doing this as nicely as you can so I really wouldn't worry about it, they'll be fine smile

Jezzabelle Wed 10-Dec-14 00:02:46

Thank you Always. That all sounds horrific! I guess you partly got through it because you had each other. You sound like a great big sis! I've told my girls never to forget that they always have each other and that that is a very important relationship.

cookiefiend Wed 10-Dec-14 00:20:57

As a child my DF divorced twice- once my DM, once DSM. DF and DM appeared to get on amicably. DF babysat if DM needed it during her time with me, finance agreed in divorce always spoke well of each other. I don't think I am too messed up! (I think- feels odd to certify myself like that!)

DSM and DF- awful. DSM always badmouthing him. (Though no "fault" IYSWM- so no reason to do so). My half siblings- well more fucked up, struggled academically, eating disorders etc.

What you are doing sounds brilliant. I know it must be hard but I am so grateful to my parents for being so good. It must have been very hard in the circumstances but it made all the difference. I never worried about having both parents at birthdays, graduations etc but struggle with DF and DSM. Remember there is a reason you loved DH and your marriage was not pointless- you got your wonderful DCs from it. By ensuring your children know this and never forcing them to pick sides you will protect them from the worse aspects of divorce.

Lastly (sorry for the novel) as a younger child there were "perks" which I was happy about- two birthdays and Christmases so don't be afraid to let them enjoy the extra fuss made of them.

AdoraBell Wed 10-Dec-14 00:33:22

It's parent's behavior rather than the fact that a divorce takes place that fucks DCs up and it sounds like both you and your ex are behaving in a way that will not have a detrimental affect on them.

It's not always divorcing parents either that severely mess the DCs up so don't be guilt tripped into remaining married "for the children".

FoolishFay Wed 10-Dec-14 00:36:10

My first DH and I separated 10 years ago at my instigation and although painful, it was never bitter or acrimonious. We were always polite and decent and now we're very good friends, although I've since remarried. For the first two years my ex DH came round 5 nights a week to spend time with them. It wasn't entirely comfortable for me but it seemed to work for the DC's.

Our three DC's appear happy, confident and at ease with themselves. The older two are at Uni and our 15 year old seems to be heading that way. They are in touch with their dad a lot. If you suggested their lives had been blighted by divorce, they'd be fairly mystified.

I think it's how you handle yourselves after separation that really can make a difference to his your DC's thrive.

SinisterBuggyMonth Wed 10-Dec-14 00:39:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Pelicangiraffe Wed 10-Dec-14 01:20:01

I have been witness to the most amicable divorce recently. The kids seemed unsettled for about a year but then are completely back to normal now. Both parents are super settled and happy in their new lives and it reflects in the kids. The parents help each out in emergencies and still care as friends.

intlmanofmystery Wed 10-Dec-14 11:58:07

It is all about how you, the adults and parents, relate to each other. It sounds very amicable and that you may always be friends. Stability is the most important thing for young children and you have worked hard to maintain that - well done! Children adapt very quickly to change, much better than adults do, and a new normality forms very quickly. We are all the product of our life's experiences and this is an experience that will influence their future paths but not in a negative way. Remember that c. 40% (sorry not sure what the exact number is, am sure someone will correct me) of marriages end in divorce or separation so it is almost the new "norm". So many of my kids friends' parents have gone or are going through this that it is not seen as unusual and this really helps them. Plus your DC are young enough not to understand adult relationships but as they grow they will take a view. When my parents split in the 70s I did not understand but, now, I can fully understand why my dad couldn't be with my mum!!

cestlavielife Wed 10-Dec-14 12:03:42

your dc will be fine it they are loved and supported.
many kids deal with many challenges in their life and survive ok.

at the moment they are not really seeing a separation as your h is there pretty much all the time anyway. not much different from a dad working away sometimes.

could be a way to smooth the path to when he does get his own place tho.

but what about his depression. how severe is that? is it being treated? will getting his won place send him downwards? what do they experience of it? if being away means he is able to regroup himself and be ok around them in smaller doses then staying elsewhere may well be beneficial for all.

loveareadingthanks Wed 10-Dec-14 13:53:27

IF things are amicable and you can both put the needs of the kids above your own, then I don't see any reason it has to damage the children.

Me and ex had a co-operative, amicable parenting-together relationship after we split up and I can't say I've seen any real effect on our son once things settled down and he felt secure that he still had a Mum and a Dad, and life went on as normal. I could ask him about that though...

I know of quite a few split families where the adults and the children seem very settled and happy.

You mainly hear about the problem families, not the ones who make it work out ok.

juneau Wed 10-Dec-14 14:06:44

Well what's the alternative - staying together 'for the children' and then you two being miserable? That's not going to make them happy. Just do your best as parents and as adults - that's all you can do.

My parents got divorced and it was shit, but mainly because it was handled poorly and there were lots of secrets and it took years for me and my siblings to unpick all the nonsense and get to the truth. Oh and there was truckloads of bad feeling too because my dad went off with my mum's best friend. But you and your ex aren't doing any of that shit, so don't beat yourself up. There are no guarantees in life that your kids will turn out one way or another, whatever you do.

sugarcoatedthorns Wed 10-Dec-14 14:09:26

the DC inevitably have to compartmentalise their lives through separate parents, and going between homes.

What you have, in keeping the weeks quiet with a single place of living that they regard as their home is vital.

Sadly what happens that causes such catastrophe and abuse to the DC is trying to own the DC. Where they are is home and fighting over one week DM and the other DF is a very tall order for DC, continually on the move, homework books in different places. The teachers I have spoken to (have many as personal friends) have confided this is normally underneath problems surfacing at school through divorce, although it may be that they end up this way because of the NRP fighting for ownership and its an abusive mess for the DC as a result.

The DC are just looking for consistency and stability. There are lots of things that rock their worlds when growing and its how its managed that matters and makes them strong. They will grow from this and learn a mature emotional response to such issues! they really will, because this is what both of you are showing them.

The only concern I have niggling in the back of my mind, is whether DF is still very dependent on the setup and hasn't actually really let go, because if so this could blow up sooner or later when you move on more?

With this situation it can be a little hard for the DC to accept that it really is final and in true film style spend their lives trying to get the parents back together! So whilst keeping them out of the adult relationships its also about telling them enough to make it really clear that the marriage is finished and for adults to make it legally binding and so on.

I also wonder how much involvement/responsibility/caring you still adopt for DH, with his depression and so on?

I think friends might wonder if they see that you aren't so separate? that you might be in a co-dependency instead? and not ready to fully separate?

Only you can know this, of course, its not for me or others to tell you how it is for you both. Having been through it the very nastiest of ways its a refreshing change to see two people being responsible and putting the DC first! it really is. Its hard to know that you are emotionally disentangeld properly until he or you have it shoved in your faces, like seeing the other out dating, thats when you know how you feel, deep down.

Always that is awful abuse from your father, very classic, but its still a bloody good job that your parents divorced and you only had to endure this 2 hours a week! A huge positive that you had most of your weekly life away from his influence and the awful influence he'd have had on your mother's ability to mother you both whilst he was there, with him gone she was able to show you the way like you are doing for your sis! cool!

however Wed 10-Dec-14 14:11:11

My parents divorced and I'm perfectly fine, as are my siblings. All happily married for over 10 years, kids, jobs etcetc. How you divorce is important, not the divorce itself.

Coyoacan Wed 10-Dec-14 14:29:31

And in the end, though all our instincts are to avoid anything bad ever happening to our children, it is impossible for them not to come up against difficult things in their lives, that is called being human. In fact, the most vulnerable people are probably the ones who get to be adults without ever having a set-back, as they have no experience with dealing with these things.

You and your ex sound lovely.

MirandaWest Wed 10-Dec-14 14:30:03

XH and I separated just over 3.5 years ago and divorced in May this year. The DC are 9 and 11 (were 5 and 7 when we split up).

Really they seem fine. They have adapted to things how they are now and neither of them yet has been unsettled at all. I realise things could change at any time but I'm hopeful that if XH and I maintain the amicable co-parenting way of life that they won't have any more issues than they might have done anyway.

GoodAndBad Wed 10-Dec-14 15:43:16

Your divorce does not have to fuck up your DC by any means. My parents divorced when I was 3 and I am SO glad they didn't stay together for my sake. I do have a few issues but that is to do with how my father is, not the divorce. I shudder to think what it would have been like if they had stayed together.

As long as DC know that you both love them and they can rely on you to tell them the truth and always be there for them then they will be fine. It sounds like you are lovely parents and are doing a brilliant job. Don't worry, kids are resilient. From what you've said they will be just fine.

Jezzabelle Sun 04-Jan-15 20:11:58

I know I posted this for-ever-ago, but this thread has stayed with me all over Christmas and I wanted everyone who posted to know that it has meant a lot. As the welfare of my DCs is clearly my biggest worry at the mo, it feels a relief to hear from so many that children can get through an amicable divorce and be ok! Thank you all so much.

Somethingtodo Sun 04-Jan-15 21:29:40

Wish you the very best of luck.

I have stayed far too long...."for the kids" time was to not compromise son at time of 11+ and the in 2014, so as not to upset him for at GCSEs...!!.

But I have realised that my physical and emotional health has plummeted through this time. I am so exhausted now that I have not got the energy or mental head space to take it all on - but I have to do it.

My children dont know me as a lovely happy Mum - just a banshee screaming at their Dad (though I have now stopped this as well - now just contemptous and bitter resentful).

The penny has dropped that I dont have the relationship with the kids I want or do I give them the family life they deserve....because I am drained emotionally and physically by the relationship.

Then I realised that the oldest (I have 4, 16-8) wont come home to visit when he goes to uni as the atmosphere is grim....I have friends who never go home to visit their parents - despite the parents staying together for them!

I want to have a deep relationship with my children throughout their teenage and adult lives....but this will never happen if I dont build the foundations now.

This thread has helped me as my STBXH will be cooperative on co-parenting, once we get there.

I just have to take it on the chin that I will have to very forcefully get the separation/divorce in progress and push it through. Also that initially the DCs will blame me as they see their Dad as a soft, gentle man - which he is - they dont see his PA, his man child behavior, this inability to manage money or manage/support running a family.

So we just need to do it nicely.

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