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Separating - what/when to tell the dcs?

(9 Posts)
airforsharon Thu 12-Feb-15 14:49:19

DH and I have decided to have a trial separation, and he is moving out into a flat nearby in about ten days (he's renting for 6 months). We have three dcs aged 8 & 6. Can anyone offer advice on what we should tell them, and when? Should I speak to them alone or should dh and I talk to them together?

Things are pretty amicable between us still and we're both optimistic the marriage might be should we tell the dcs this, or prepare them for the possibility their dad and I might not ever live together again?

Joysmum Thu 12-Feb-15 15:00:41

I'd do it together and be sure to explain what their lives will be like as that's what they'll need to know. So when they'll see dad and when they can talk to him etc.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 12-Feb-15 15:06:49

Sorry you're having difficulties. I think children appreciate honesty and facts but they don't need to be burdened with too many grown up relationship matters. Talk to them together, tell them what will change, ie dad will be living somewhere else for a while, but stress all the things that will stay the same for them. School, hobbies, friends, etc. Make sure they know that they are you number 1 concern and can talk to you at any time if they have questions. Good luck

pocketsaviour Thu 12-Feb-15 15:23:48

I would suggest you don't make too much of the hopes to reconcile - if you don't, and they've been banking on it, it will be a horrible blow for them. But if you do reconcile, it will be a nice surprise.

Be honest and be prepared that most of their questions will be around how this will affect them. Will I have to move school? If I visit Daddy where will I sleep? Can I still have new trainers? grin What will happen on my birthday/xmas?

Also be prepared for the heart rending questions like "Is this our fault? If we be really really good can daddy please stay?" sad

airforsharon Thu 12-Feb-15 15:47:44

thanks for your thoughts - pocket yes that's a worry, that they'll think it's because of them. Hopefully if that comes up we can reassure them.

We're hoping to keep things at much as normal for them - dh will be back and forth during the week, do bedtimes etc and usual things like swimming at the weekends. And it might help that he works away from time to time, so they are used to him being absent occasionally.

It's the emotional side that worries me, and i'm sure there are questions and concerns they will have that I might not be prepared for.

cogito I think that's the approach we'll take, stick to the practical facts but keep the whys and wherefores out of it, unless they have very specific questions perhaps.

Mostlyjustaluker Fri 13-Feb-15 17:19:00

I would sit them together and start by saying that you both love them very much but don't love each other and just want to be friends. Kids often believe it is their fault so you need to make it clear that the reason you are splitting is not their fault. I would not tell them it is temporary.

Saturdaydad Tue 17-Feb-15 16:38:57

Possibly the hardest thing I have ever done. Do not go into the details of why, mine were a little younger than your children and the explanation was about grownups still loving each other but unable to live with each other, I would not be any more specific than that. I wouldn't talk about temporary separation or reconciliation, as others have said it will just build their hopes up.

Bizarrely they may get to see more of your husband – that was what happened with me. My now 10 year old remembers “normal” life when we lived in the same house commenting on the fact that we rarely spent the entire day together, life gets in the way etc, but now they have my undivided attention on a very regular basis (no diy, shopping, general admin when I am with them).
I hope that you can work things out, if not do not despair about the children’s relationships with their father, most of us normal divorced/separated guys have a fantastic relationship with their children.

(And that was my first MN post!)

airforsharon Tue 17-Feb-15 21:54:14

thanks everyone for your thoughts - and for your first post Saturdaydad! I'm pleased to hear your relationship with your dcs hasn't suffered.
We've decided to talk to oldest dd first, on her own, then the younger two. DH is planning on moving out at the end of the month, so we'll speak to them this weekend and keep it as simple and straightforward as we can, emphasising that they will still see DH regularly, and take it from there.

Porffor Mon 16-Jan-17 19:49:36

Saturday dad, you sound like a wonderful role model and dad.

I grew up not ever knowing my dad, and am now in a position of having to work out our separation, I really want it to be 50/50 but dad is their main carer while I work (he's doing part time degree). He's also a great dad and despite how hard this will be for all of us I hope we come through it as well as you sound like you've done.

Thanks for giving me hope!

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