Posted by: getting divorced | 2009-01-21

what to tell the children

Dear Cyberdock,
I have decided to divorce my husband of 15 years. He' s had several afairs during our marriage, and despite my commitments and attempts make our mariage work, he' s still continuing on this destructive road. I have accepted that he is never going to change his ways and that I now need to get out and salvage what' s left of my life.

The problem I have is that I have 3 little boys, aged 10, 7 and 1 year. I need to tell them about this development and I really don' t know how to. Can you please advise me on how to approach them with this news, what do I tell them. I don' t want to lie to them but I also don' t want them to know what their dad has been up to.

Please advise me on this matter.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

And silence falls on our many readers !
The approach to the kids will differ accordign to their ages, but the principles involved will be the same. At 1, a child will be largely unaware of what's happening in this regard --- if he recognizes Dad as part of his life, he may wonder why he's not around so much, but probably won't be bothered if he sees dad reasonably often. The 7 and 10 year-old's will need a calm discussion about how adults can have problems in their relationships, and try to solve them, but can't always manage it, and you two have decided to love separately and not together in future. Best if you can discuss this between you and approach the children together. Reassure them that you both still love them very much, and will always do so, and that this was in no way their fault ( some children worry that they may have caused the break-up, maybe by being naughty, or at least by not being good enough !).
The details of what their dad has been up to would not be comprehansible to them, anyway. Work with your husband to ensure that whatever personal bitterness there may be between you, none of that, and none of the anger, etc., is shown to the children, and agree that neither of you will use the children as weapons against each other, nor tell the children nasty things about each other.

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