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Question
Posted by: Anonymous | 2010/02/26

TELLING KIDS ABOUT DIVORCE

My kids are 18 &  13. How do I explain to them that their parents are divorcing. The reason for the divorce is because my husband feels he is unhappy but will not try counselling. I don''t want to lie to the kids but I on the other hand will not want to make them feel that their dad is bad by wanting this.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

While questions like this ( and "how to tell the kids about sex, or death ") are very understandable, they rather assume that there is one right way to do so. Well, there are probably reliable characteristics shared by the various right ways to handle such tasks - doing so calmly, sitting down, at a chosen time rather than blurted out in an argument or crisis. But another very important characteristic is that it must be personal and individualized to the circumstances and the people involved.
You want to talk about those aspects of the situation which the kids are likely to already be aware of, and seeking to know what they already think, fear, are concerned about. This way, you can be more confident that you'll be answering the questions they actually have, rather than some that haven't occurred to them or don't bother them.
Do you know what your husband thinks, how HE would explain the situation to them, and whether he has already ssaid anything to them about this ? ( which actually rather often happens ).
You should perhaps discuss with him the issue of how this will be seen by the kids, and how to explain it to them. And to emphasize in this conversation the important point you make that however unhappy the parents might be with each other, they should not hurt the children by trying to involve them in partisan conflict, nor to bad-mouth the other parent to the children.

One other point that is often overlooked in dicvorce, is that kids often find reasons to blame themselves for whatever is happening, and it is useful to re-assure them that THEY are not at fault, nor a cause, and that they were, are, and will be, loved by both parents.

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Our users say:
Posted by: cybershrink | 2010/02/26

While questions like this ( and "how to tell the kids about sex, or death ") are very understandable, they rather assume that there is one right way to do so. Well, there are probably reliable characteristics shared by the various right ways to handle such tasks - doing so calmly, sitting down, at a chosen time rather than blurted out in an argument or crisis. But another very important characteristic is that it must be personal and individualized to the circumstances and the people involved.
You want to talk about those aspects of the situation which the kids are likely to already be aware of, and seeking to know what they already think, fear, are concerned about. This way, you can be more confident that you'll be answering the questions they actually have, rather than some that haven't occurred to them or don't bother them.
Do you know what your husband thinks, how HE would explain the situation to them, and whether he has already ssaid anything to them about this ? ( which actually rather often happens ).
You should perhaps discuss with him the issue of how this will be seen by the kids, and how to explain it to them. And to emphasize in this conversation the important point you make that however unhappy the parents might be with each other, they should not hurt the children by trying to involve them in partisan conflict, nor to bad-mouth the other parent to the children.

One other point that is often overlooked in dicvorce, is that kids often find reasons to blame themselves for whatever is happening, and it is useful to re-assure them that THEY are not at fault, nor a cause, and that they were, are, and will be, loved by both parents.

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