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Divorce and Children's Ages

540 Views 10 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  LisaSueandBabyBoy
I can't figure out which forum to post this in, so I thought I'd try here.

My eldest son is 2.5 and my youngest is 6 months old. My marriage has been in trouble pretty much from the start... with my husband threatening to abandon us and go home to Egypt at least three times. He's been violent (but he doesn't think so... hitting me in the face once, pushing me against a wall when I was 7 months pregnant). He's also the king of control... with the silent treatment being his method of choice (didn't speak to his own father for almost a year when he was 14). I've asked him to get counseling numerous times (marriage counseling for us)... which he's refused. (BTW, it's mandated in the Qur'an that one seek counseling before divorce. Seriously). A few days ago I enrolled us in a telephone-based marrigage counseling program, that has CDs as back-ups. He won't even listen to one of the CDs. So, basically, I've had enough... and have decided to give him what he wants, a separation.

The thing that broke my heart is last night he wanted to talk about separating. I told him, let's wait until after the boys go to bed, but he kept talking. So, I started crying during the whole discussion... (which my husband didn't understand... he said, I'm not yelling at you or anything).... and my 2.5 yr old came up to me and started to say over and over again, "I sorry Mama....I sorry". It broke my heart even more. (We tell him to say "I'm sorry" to his brother after his little brother cries as a result of his stealing a toy, or hitting him, or whatever.) I don't want this boy to at all feel responsible for anything that happens... and reality is, he's getting to the age that he will. Best to end it now. Right?

Just wondering, anybody go through a divorce/separation with a child who was about 2.5? How did it effect them? What should I be on the lookout for?? To be honest, I'm the primary caregiver and my husband does not spend much time with him... less than one hour per week... and rarely alone. (Mmmm...divorce may allow him more time with his Dad.) But my son does love his father with all of his heart. Any advice on how to keep my kids O.K. through this??

I was thinking of us using a mediator rather than attorneys... but as my husband seems to think that he can pay whatever he wants in child support (after he takes care of his needs)... I don't think that will fly. Still, I'd want to make this as easy as possible for the kids.
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I seperated from my husband when our son was a little over a year. He's 3 now and the divorce is still not final. I had to take a class by a child psychologist about how children handle divorce. When he addresses children under 3 he said that they may become clingy and need a lot more reassurance. They tend to internalize all their feelings and wonder how it is going to impact them. Their main fear (usually) is "Daddy left me so mommy might leave me too" Just reassure your child that mommy and daddy both love him but they think it is best for them to live apart now, so they can be the best mommy and daddy to him. Lots of extra attention and love will help. Be prepeared that there may be a period of anger and agression by your little one. My son did a lot of biting around that time and some major tantrums. I hope things go well for all of you.
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Thanks Jillian... my son is already a biter, so I guess I'll just have to expect a bit more.
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My daughter was 4 and son, 2.5. Now they're about 5 months older. My son, Chandler, seems to be barely affected! He really has handled it well. Most of my energy and conversations were directed to my daughter. Daddy's been gone 4 months now and honestly, Chandler seems fine. My stbx asks how the kids are handling things when he's not around and quite honestly, I tell him that they're good and my daughter barely mentions it but enough so that I know she knows the reality and is open to talking to me about her feelings.
Not divorced yet...

We seperated when our oldest was 9, our middle was 5, and our baby was 4 months old.

I'll be honest - being a single mom is the hardest thing I've ever had to do. I get almost no support from my ex - he's taken the kids about half a dozen times since he left, never for more than a few hours, and he's never taken the baby anywhere. It's hard - but honestly I'm so proud of myself for handling things the way I have. I had no idea he was going to leave us. The kids have done really well too. You can do this!
We separated when my youngest was 2.5, other not yet born. There were definitely signs of stress that she had, in terms of sadness, anger, acting out, etc. The biggest thing I tried to do was be there for her, accept her feelings, and respect the fac tthat these changes were hard. I also realized that at first, I'd used the old "Mommy and daddy fight, so we're going to live in separate houses so we don't fight as much" Big mistake, she became terrified of fighting and then, when she saw her dad and I able to talk to each other, she said, okay, it's better, let's move back! Finally I told her the truth...her dad didn't love me any more, though he still loved her, but he wasn't able to help us out much so we had to move home to live with my mom. I know it's taboo around here to be honest to your kids about your partners faults for fear of "bad-mouthing" but for me it was the only way to help my child understand what was really happening.

She's 4.5 now and really well adjusted, enjoys visiting with her dad and living with her mom. Her dad calls frequently and sees her a few weeks a year. And because she had a strong relationship with her dad my younger daughter does as well, she's now 2.

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I'm not divorced yet but my 13month old has definately been affected by our separation. so far he's just more clingy (especially after being dropped off after seeing his dad) and has a general attitude of "daddy left so mommy might too" and doesn't like it when i leave for any reason without him which isn't so great since I just started a new job and have to work to support us.

good luck.
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Thanks all for replying.

In many ways, I feel much better about the whole thing... like a weight is off of my shoulders. I'm sure it will be hell... but still, I know I can get through it.

Originally Posted by umsami
Thanks all for replying.

In many ways, I feel much better about the whole thing... like a weight is off of my shoulders. I'm sure it will be hell... but still, I know I can get through it.
umsami that is exactly it. it was the worst and the best thing that happened to me. it was so, so hard to let go of my dream of a happy family and yet today i feel so strong of who i am. we separated when dd was 18 months old and really i didnt notice anything - i feel mainly coz he wasnt spending any time with her one to one or taking care of anything. but her dad has been present in her life more so when she turned 3.
I'm newly divorced, seperated for about 7months. My oldest was 3.5yo when we seperated and my bebe was 6ish months.

To be honest neither of my kiddos seem affected at all, at this point. I think the situation we were living in was really not a good one, so they are happy to see their dad occassionally, however I truly think they are happier now
My husband and I seperated when my eldest son was two and a half and our youngest son was two months old. Ethan, my eldest, had a difficult time. He seemed to act out in anger towards me and had more tantrums. I took him with me to some play therapy that seemed to help. After seven months, he seems to have adjusted to the situation and knows "Daddy's house" and "Mommy's house" and seems to be doing as well as he can. In my situation it is a contested custody suit (I had hoped for mediation, and we tried but my husband is chemically dependent and mentally unstable so that just did not work) and it continues to be ugly but I'm doing my best to keep it calm for him.
You are so right, you will make it through this and it will be hell but you will come out so much better. So many people say to me, "I'm so sorry you are going through this!" when they hear I am going through a divorce but I constantly find myself saying (and meaning) "NO! My life is so much more peaceful, my boys' lives are so much more peaceful and we are doing better already!" I know in my heart that this is happening because I am no longer living in the hell that I was before. I wish you all the best. Hang in there.
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