Posted by: mini | 2011/04/14

Kids emotions

hi cybershrink is away i wonder if you can help with this:

My kids aged 7 and 4 are very disturbed by our pending divorce. It will be finalised in 4 months time but weve been talking div for the past year and my husband moved out a month ago from the fam home. He does not spend more than about 3 hrs a week wt them sometimes 5 hrs by his own choice and refuses to have contact with them during the wk stating his too busy working!!! They have questions on and off which i try to best answer so as to not have life time effect but one question i really dont know how to answer is:

Mys on age 4 asks me why i dont say hallo or speak to the dad? when he fetches them he stand outside by choice and the 4 yr old picks up on this when i tried to reply to him that next time i would go out and greet dad if that makes him happy he got aggressive and said no no you cant u are not his friend! Sadly he picks up on all this and thinks that is the NORMAL!!! how do recitify this sensitively without also creating expectation of friendship because even though i feel mature enuf to get to a level of pretending with him for the kids sake i doubt he willl humour me with same even a pretence or should i start with speaking to him and ask him if he can pretend just so that we dont teach the kids these ugly habits!!!!!!

For me kids first i can put my pain aside, how do i answer such questions pls help anyone!

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageDivorce support expert

Hi Mini,

You are at the right place for your question.

Children are very perceptive and they will pick up on the vibes that are going on between you and the dad.

First I would suggest that you and the dad attend some co-parenting coaching consultations. This is a great way to move on from the separation as having been life partners to becoming Parenting Partners. Your children are still young and no doubt you both want what is best for them and raise two healthy, happy children. Your parenting relationship is going to remain for the rest of your life. Not only would you both benefit from embracing this but more specifically it is for the children.
Your children want their parents to 'just get along' more than anything else. They usually don't expect you to get back together. They don't expect you to be best buddies. They don't even want to share in all the family events together ... they just want you to get along when you do need to be in the same room together.
As the adults in this situation it is your duty to adopt the appropriate behaviour for your children sake. Remember, as parents, all we truly are, are role models. Because your children are so young, you really owe to them that you, the parents, are always going to be there for them and love them unconditionally, no matter how the arrangements are made.
As far as answering their questions, let your heart do the talking. I always believe that telling the truth is the only way to go. The truth though has to be age appropriate and does not need to include unnecessary details....Your son is proving to you how sharp and insightful he is to your situation. If you make up things or pretend, he will know at the risk of losing his trust.
Divorce is a norm. There is no shame to be had. Let him know that mom and dad do not wish to be husband and wife any longer but you always will be Mom and Dad. Explain that even for grown ups it can be hard to sort out some feelings at first but you are both working on making things better. Do not make promises about anything but you can share your feelings...Mom is a bit sad at the moment or, yes, I am a bit angry at dad but it's nothing for you to worry about. It'll get better. To identify and recognise one's feelings is giving the message that it is normal to have feelings. It is ok to be mad or sad and that you are processing those feelings.
Your role, as a parent, is to love and protect your children. It's important to reassure them a bit more during the transition. Say: Our family is changing. We are going to need some time to get a new rhythm going, but everything is going to be alright. Do not speak of broken families. It creates a negative energy. Also always include them. Your little one sounds so smart. Involve him. Allow him to have a voice in the matter. It is their life too and mostly you will always both be their parents.


The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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