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Telling the children...is it usual to do it together?

(21 Posts)
arlagirl Tue 16-Dec-14 21:00:12

Just that really.....

lavenderhoney Tue 16-Dec-14 21:06:00

My dh refused point blank to get involved and for my dc under 6 it involved a country move, and he stayed behind.

So I did it, and continue to be the one re iterating gently all the time. He refuses to discuss it with the dc even now, and lives in an expat bubble.

I took a lot of trouble to find good male role models in after school activities. Exhausting but worth it, IMO.

Handywoman Tue 16-Dec-14 21:43:38

I did it myself as felt xh could not be trusted to say it clumsily or get it wrong or start blubbing uncontrollably.

He was EA and controlling. I took some control back by handling the kids (and it continues to be this way - he was a second-rate dad and is now little more than a babysitter).

Every situation is unique - do it the way it works for you.

MistAndAWeepingRain Tue 16-Dec-14 21:48:34

Every situation is different. Is your split amicable? Are you on good terms? Can you present a united front for the children? Do you want to do it together?

Personally, I did told the DCs by myself. But that was what worked for us.

Shuang Tue 16-Dec-14 21:51:38

We are planning to do it together in the new year, nearer the time he is ready to move out.

I will need to do lots of reading and research to make sure we do it right.

2anddone Tue 16-Dec-14 23:17:49

We did it together, I won't lie it was horrible and one of the hardest things I have had to do especially as it was not my choice for h to move out.
We did it once he had decided he definitely didn't want to come back and that it would be a permanent arrangement. There was lots of we love you lots but don't want to live with each other anymore but you will still see daddy lots. I hate him for putting my babies through it but I know in the long run they are much happier now!

suspiciousandsad Tue 16-Dec-14 23:22:53

Exactly as Shuang - together, in the NY when STBXH has a place to go. But I know I will be the one to fix it afterwards, to explain it and answer the difficult questions. I've been tempted to just do it myself and leave him out of it, I think there is a case for doing it both ways. Although him telling them on his own would not be on.

A book by someone called McGhee (Christina?) was recommended to us by our mediator. It's about separating and parenting together. Really must get on and read it.

MeMyselfAnd1 Tue 16-Dec-14 23:25:56

For the research... Have a look at "Putting Children First" by K Goodall, it really can help you to build a good understanding with their dad so you can co parent efficiently while apart (without getting into each other's nerves too much)

The only thing I would strongly suggest is not talking to them until you know when and where his dad is moving to and you had decided on contact patterns, because what causes the anxiety is not so much that dad is moving out but not knowing what will happen next.

And... Please do not sit them to have a formal conversation about the issue, tell them individually, when they are busy doing otger things as a "sideways" conversation is more likely to maje them comfortable enough to ask everything the want to know.

Cabrinha Wed 17-Dec-14 00:22:35

I did all the talking to my nearly 5yo, but had my arse of an XH there.
I didn't want her to think there was anything bad between us (ha!)

I simply told her that we weren't each other's One True Love (she's a Disney fan!) so we were going to stop being married, and mummy had bought a house, and that was quite exciting.

I delayed telling her 4 months whilst I bought the house, and she immediately asked to see it. We drove over together and she loved it, as I'd painted her room already.

I got XH to come too, I really wanted her to think we were all happy. I actually was, it was his later behaviour that tipped me over the edge! I was so glad to be rid of the cheating arse that I was able to feel quite amicable at the time!!

I do think it helped her to see that both parents were happy, and she wasn't left unsettled wondering what the other parent was thinking.

a2011x Wed 17-Dec-14 00:30:23

Well.... Mine was mum trying to explain how much they love us but they love each other as friends instead now and I will get two lots of Christmases and it was dad saying 'your mums leaving us for another man' .... So yeah... If you can do it nicely do it together, if you can't do it alone . Btw my dad regrets this to this day but it will stay with me for the rest of my life, I hope you can do it together and do the best for your kids like I can tell you obviously want , good luck to you x

MeMyselfAnd1 Thu 18-Dec-14 08:06:25

I think that something that helped DS was that his dad travelled a lot, so I told him that it was going to be very similar but that from then on, he will be going with his dad a few nights a week, we talked about the 2 houses, two rooms and most importantly, the bunkbed. I also insisted for DS to go with him on the first night he was away so he didn't feel "left behind".

It worked beautifully, and interestingly, DS had more quality time with his dad in those first few years than he had when his dad was at home.

I remember reading somewhere that it is not that divorce/separation that damages the children, but witnessing all the arguments that lead to it. I think we managed the split very well and in very friendly terms, what caused the damage was the years of stress and arguments in court over the house.

I tried to shield DS about this, but exh was even showing him court documents and blaming me for trying to keep "his" money, and asking him to steal documents from the house for him or else. So keep the children well out of the discussions, and take good care of yourselves too because angry stressed parents find it more difficult to be good parents.

AmazingBouncingFerret Thu 18-Dec-14 08:16:55

We told them together.
We avoided saying 'we don't love each other anymore' because I was scared that they would think we could fall out of love with them.
Like others we explained that Daddy was moving to another house where they would have their own rooms. Which got them very excited! We also explained about when they would be stopping with me and with their dad but we also stressed that if for any reason they wanted to see or speak to either parent then they were able to do that.
I overheard my DS telling my mum about it and he said it's much better because mum and dad no longer argue. We hadn't told him to say that and we thought we'd been quite good at sheltering them so it's surprising the things they notice and are aware of.
So far it has worked out very well. We are all so much happier and are planning to take the children out together for DD's birthday this weekend.

rumbleinthrjungle Thu 18-Dec-14 14:14:44

My DM got DF to leave the house, woke us and told us herself. For years I was furious with him for being too gutless to face us and it definitely had a serious impact on our relationship for some years. It only transpired later DM decided she wanted to tell us herself - I still don't know if she was trying to protect him, protect us, control the situation, it could easily be all three, I have no idea. It was very, very hard for him to come back into the situation and for us to talk to him after that because by then it had become 'us' and 'him'.

DM also went for facts only: he is moving out (no reason at all as to why, Dsis and I therefore supplied our own, that it was our fault, only found out years later why) and we're separating. End of discussion. No reassurance as to some reasons why and that he continued to have any feelings for us or be interested in us. It made an unholy mess.

I'm over 40 and still angry whenever I think of it.

hellsbellsmelons Thu 18-Dec-14 14:56:55

I think it depends on why you are splitting up.
With us, my ex was having an affair.
I told him he could tell her shy we were splitting up.
I wanted to be there to make sure he didn't lie.
He did but I let it go and my DD at age 11, knew exactly what was going on.
They aren't daft. Try not to lie to them. Age appropriate messaging is the way to go.

suspiciousandsad Thu 18-Dec-14 16:37:52

Rumble, if you don't mind me asking, do you have any thoughts on how should she have done it? I ask because I'm about to tell my DCs and I am floundering.

Without wishing to hijack this thread from the OP, I've found the posts really helpful.

arlagirl Thu 18-Dec-14 19:31:20

Thank you for replies. Children are older teens.....h wants me to tell them.
Its reasonably amicable.

rumbleinthrjungle Thu 18-Dec-14 19:45:17

Suspicious - the trouble is I only know what would have helped in the specific situation my family was in at the time. You're the expert on your children.

It would have helped us as children if they had shown a united front and explained it together - that is if DF had been able to stay calm and not resort to shouting if we cried or got upset - and if they'd started with and reinforced the reassurances that we were loved and wanted by both of them, and talked about the practicalities of how things were going to look in this strange new world. Children are naturally egocentric, they're meant to be at that age, and it feels like the world you know is falling apart and nothing is safe or reliable any more. It is a tremendous shock as a child that someone who loves you can move out of your house and leave you. I remember being very frightened about where we would live, what would happen at Christmas, would we still see his parents/our grandparents, how often would we see him, could we phone him, when would he leave, where was he going, I wanted something to visualise and some structure of what was about to happen. I think DM was trying hard to protect him from us upsetting him with our reactions, and to protect us by saying repeatedly this is 'nothing to do with you'. Of course it hugely was, and it felt like being abandoned.

I also think it would have helped for both parents to have been better prepared and ready to help us with the emotional reactions in the first few days and months. Again that is child thinking. I understand now that my mother was so shattered she could barely keep herself going, she couldn't cope with us having feelings about it too, and he felt so guilty he just cut himself off from us. It was not a good split and there was a lot of back story, it was not an easy situation for anyone. I was very lucky in having a wonderful form tutor who gave me a lot of support through that year. My DMs parents were also fantastic and kept the family traditions and routines very stable and consistent, something else to hang on to.

Bumply Thu 18-Dec-14 20:19:43

We planned to do it together, but ex bottled out at the last minute.
Hateful experience

Rollercola Thu 18-Dec-14 20:44:46

We did it together, and have tried to do other things like parents evening etc together ever since.

I won't lie either, it was the hardest and worst thing I've ever done. My dd cried like nothing I've ever heard before, she was 11 at the time. BUT once she'd calmed down (that same night) she was ok and has been fine ever since.

The key is to keep talking, to your kids and to each other if you can. They don't deserve to be upset so do your best to stay amicable and to let them know that you both love them very much. They adapt incredibly quickly.

suspiciousandsad Thu 18-Dec-14 21:19:13

Rumble, thank you for taking the time. Your post was massively helpful, especially what you say about being available afterwards.

rumbleinthrjungle Thu 18-Dec-14 21:52:31

You're welcome Suspicious. Good luck, you will all get through it brew

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