How to tell the kids - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 09-18-2011, 07:43 PM - Thread Starter
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My situation is a little weird. We haven't really been living together. Well, it's been off and on. I moved out with the kids to move to be near my mom a couple years ago, but we were having big troubles between us. He promised to work on it, so we moved back. After 6 months he wasn't working on it, and then he told us to leave. So we moved out again. I took the kids back to visit him for a month during the summer, and pack up the things I had left. Again he said he would do anything to make it work. But then he didn't come through during that month. I planned on continuing to live in my new home (with the kids, out of state) so I took the kids home on schedule to start school. I never stated that I would be filing because I want to get all my ducks in a row (new job, getting kids started in the school year, etc). So he doesn't know I'm filing,but I hope to in the next couple weeks. 


Ok, so that's the background. Here's the question: 

Everything says you should try to tell the kids together. But he's not in this state. Do I wait until he comes to visit them or we visit him? (that could end up ruining a holiday since that's the only time I anticipate seeing him)

or do I tell them alone? or do I have him on the phone or skype? (btw, I hate communicating with him on phone/skype. it's very hard to understand him and the delays and such make me nuts...but I could suck it up if that woudl be good for the kids)


When do we/I tell them? When I file the papers? He will be served, and then because he is not so great at sensitivity and how to handle emotional stuff with kids, he might just blurt it out... I had planned to tell him that I have filed right after I file but before he gets served (if I can get up the nerve) They are 3, 8 and 10. I read not to tell little kids too early in the process, but we are already not living in the same house. But I'm sure the process will take months. And everyone in our families will know so might they learn the wrong way if I wait?


Sorry for all the confusing background info. I'm not sure how to make this clear and I really need help figuring out how to do this. 

Mom to 11 y.o. lawyer, 9 y.o. actor, and 4 y.o. pilot. I believe 'em on those, too!

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#2 of 4 Old 09-19-2011, 02:37 AM
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I would not make a huge issue of it.... the kids will not be shocked. Honestly they probably already know.  The legal workings are not theirs to worry about.  Too big a burden to put on their shoulders.  I would just say daddy and mommy have been trying to work things out but have decided it is not going to work so we are going to file for divorce. 




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#3 of 4 Old 09-20-2011, 07:35 PM - Thread Starter
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I guess I'm just really anxious about how that conversation goes and I need some suggestions and support. I do think they will be surprised and upset. We have never fought in front of them. We have not discussed that we are here because of problems between their father and I. Their father says to them that he is working on getting a job here. 


I just can't picture how to tell them. 


Maybe it's just me.


Mom to 11 y.o. lawyer, 9 y.o. actor, and 4 y.o. pilot. I believe 'em on those, too!

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#4 of 4 Old 09-20-2011, 11:48 PM
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This sounds so hard. hug2.gif


My ex lives out of state (750 miles away) and we waited more than a month after formally ending the relationship (domestic partnership, so it involved revocation paperwork) to tell the kids so we could do it in person together.  This decision was based on recommendatons from the kids' therapist.  We talked about loving them, how that would never change, how we would make sure they stayed connected to their dad, etc.  My kids (5 and 8 at the time) had seen us fighting (had cried about it, in fact) and had been living apart from their dad for months...but were still shocked.  The only thing that happened that day that I wish I had dealt with their was a request from ex that the kids talk to him daily.  They "promised" this through tears.  This is a burden that my oldest now takes seriously...even on days when she is sad or overwhelmed (or just busy) and it is difficult to keep the promise.


My ex later sued me for sole custody....and told an interesting (aka "full of lies") story about the way we told the children in his depending on how you think things may unfold, you may want to consider context as you plan.  That is probably way too negative for you....but just wanted to put it out there.


The kids' therapist told me to expect that in the couple of weeks right after they heard, the kids would go back and forth from needing to be held for lots of time to staying away from me and not talking....all true.  It was a tough time as they both got used to the idea, and they had a lot of swings. I stayed even more ready than usual to drop-everything-and-hug during that time, and also tried to respect their space.  Sometimes it changed multiple times an hour. 


Good luck!

Mom to two terrific kiddos, affirming every day that the Universe is unfolding as it should and all is well...

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