How do you tell your children that their parents who have been married for 16 years are separating?

Separation of a marriage is a difficult time, especially when it comes to communicating this to your children. How do you tell children of different ages that their parents, who have been married for almost 2 decades, are splitting up?

31  Answers

0 0

I was in this same situation a year and a half ago. I was married for 15 years and after many problems I decided to leave. My two boys were 8 and 10 at the time. Their father and I decided it was best if we told them together. We sat down and I told them that I was going to be moving out. I said that sometimes when people are married their relationship changes and they no longer can live together. We both assured them that this had absolutely nothing to do with them and that we would both still be very involved in their lives. We assured them that this did not change our relationship with them in any way, and even though we may not have the same love for each other, we would always love them no matter what. We assured them of how much we love them and that they were the most important thing to us. We just felt that for everyone to live a happy life, it was best for us to live apart. It's best to leave blame and details out of it. As parents you need to put your childs best interest first, and even if there is anger toward the other parent, you should both strive to bury that anger when around the kids and just focus on the kids. No matter how you choose to tell them, it is very difficult and emotional. Try to be strong for your kids. Let them ask questions and answer them in a manner that doesn't point blame. Cry and hug, and continue the constant reassurance. It's been a year and a half since I moved out. We co-parent and have 50/50 joint custody. There have been some very strained and difficult times during the past year and a half. There have been times when the kids have witnessed the anger and blame and I can see it only causes them pain. Its best never to discuss any matters that can cause tension in front of the kids. If necessary, get a mediator involved. The sooner you two can just focus on co-parenting and putting that as your number one priority the better. My rule has been, I don't talk to my ex-husband unless it directly relates to my kids. He still has much anger and hostility and I deserve to have a happy life, so the only communication is regarding the kids. I won't lie to you, it is not easy. My prayers are with you as you go through this very difficult time.

11
3 10

Being a child of divorce ( my parents were married 19 years) I can tell you my experience. Chances are if there was any damage to be dine it has already happened unwittingly. How you tell them, as long as it's gently and supportively doesn't really matter. I'm the younger child and it didn't really effect me so much. My older brother was more aware of things before they came to a head and he still has lasting resentments. I was 13 and he was 16. The man my mother left my father for was also married and it seemed like his children had the same response. Older child effected more.
The issues really came more when our parents remarried. The dynamics that go into that are insane. Just be aware if your child's reactions and help them through it. It is a process that never ends. I am now 28 years old with a family of my own. I still have issues with my father's wife. As a result I will never go through a divorce. I really feel like unless the person is abusive you're not going to be that much happier with someone else. I listen to my parents and their issues with their spouses and they sound almost exactly the sane as when they were together.

5
0 0

I agree. Divorce isn't the answer unless there is abuse. Remarriage caused more issues and pain for everyone.

View More
0 15

you should tell them that once you both was in love with each other in that best thing that came out of your love for each was them and it will never change in always answer their question to remember that you can still be friends but just can not live together and more

4
1 1

I'm not sure how old your children are but I am currently going through this as well - my children are 10, 6 and 9 months. We spoke to the kids together and explained that Daddy was moving out but that he wouldn't be far away. We told them that sometimes grown ups just don't get along even when they try to. We explained that this situation had nothing to do with them and that we both still loved them very much and always would and then we put together a schedule of when their dad would visit so they knew that he would still be there for them. We also explained to them that they might feel angry or sad or confused or everything all at once and that it was ok and normal to feel this way and that they could and should come to me or their dad when they feel this way, even if it was just to say "I hate you". We assured them that we would be open and honest but that we might not always be able to answer their questions completely. When my oldest asks a question that I can't provide a full answer to - for example "what were you and dad not getting along about?" - I explained to him that it was grown up things and that maybe when he's a little older we can discuss it again. He knows that he's not getting the full story but he doesn't need to know that his dad is having an affair because that would cause more harm than good. I am also constantly asking him if he has any questions. It's important to remember the ages of your children and remind yourself that you want them to be able to be a kid and not worry about the complexities of adult problems. Don't lie but do remember their age when speaking to them. Therapy helps. Good luck.

3
0 0

I commend you for not giving details that would be harmful to your kids. As they get older and can understand the complexities of adult relationships, perhaps that would be a time to discuss it if necessary. I too kept information vague about some harmful things their father had done. Unfortunately he did not feel the same way and finds it necessary to lash out at me in front of the kids. Perhaps he is having a hard time dealing with his own choices and treatment of people. Anyway, you all deserve happiness. My kids are very happy now, they are very loved and know that they are the first priority in both of our lives.

View More
99 48

Put yourself in your child's shoes. Literally. Ask yourself....what would YOU want to hear? That's the answer. It's ALWAYS the answer-for ANY problem/issue regarding children or other people. YOU have to think how YOU would feel or want it to go. I'm tellin' ya, that's the answer. Good luck. The words should come from you and only you. Word to the wise: Be honest-so there are NO surprises. If you are honest-and ALWAYS- then there are no unanswered questions, right? RIGHT.
This needs to be a together cohesive thing. Good luck to you-and your children.

2
99 48

I meant the words should be YOUR feelings and your husband's. You both should talk about it together, decide what you both want to say. I think you BOTH should explain when speaking to your children. Not just Mom. If it's just Mom, then they will think you are the bad guy. Dad needs to speak, as well. And agree. Yall both need to agree on the SAME STATEMENT/ISSUE. Should present a UNITED FRONT. And I would work extremely hard towards ensuring you and your husband show "friendliness" during and after this transition. This is important. They will already be unhappy. No need to make them feel unhappier. This isn't party time as you know. Regardless of what you BOTH say to them TOGETHER at the SAME TIME, they will still be sad. Very important, REGARDLESS OF AGE, that you explain it's not their fault. Because whatever you and your husband decide to tell them, it will make sense.......and not make sense.......you see? they will struggle mentally and emotionally to try to understand, and as a last resort to understanding, they may blame themselves. Very important that doesn't happen. But if so......I recommend lotsa love and patience.....Steel yourselves.....You can do it. I feel for you as well as your children. Good luck.

0 20

Went through the same thing myself about 4 years ago. My husband and I were married for nearly 15 years and he decided that he no longer wanted to be married. He was having an affair with another woman. We worked on the marriage for over two years with him telling me that he wanted to remain married but in the end he was lying and cheating behind my back. He basically then told me he no longer wanted marriage or a family. We too sat down with all four of my children and explained to them that daddy was leaving. I stressed to them that it had nothing to do with them and that it was basically their father's choice in that he no longer wanted to be married. It was one of the saddest days of my entire life. It was something I never imagined or ever wanted for my four awesome children. They did not deserve this. I did spend time telling them that the situation was not fixable in that their dad did not want to stay. I related to the younger ones that it was like having a vase that is broken. We tried to glue back all the pieces of the vase but one was missing. Since the one piece was missing the vase could never be fixed. I think the visual helped but I am still not sure they have fully recovered from this terrible event in their lives. I am very pro family and conservative as well as very religious so my point of view is guided deeply by my religious beliefs and what the church teaches. I would have done anything to keep my marriage together and told the children so. I related to them in religious terms that certain times people fall prey to sin and that we needed to pray for their dad and hope that at some point he would turn his life around. After four years since the initial permanent separation he is no longer with the "love of his life" but still remains not wanting marriage. So sad. He is a little boy that never wanted the responsibilities that come along with marriage and family. The children suffer so from this unfortunately. I hope this helps a bit.

2
50 0

I love your vase analogy. You are right you cant put something back together when a piece is missing. You exhausted all your options.

50 0

I hope you have exhausted your marriage therapy option.

PLEASE DON'T TELL YOUR KIDS THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THEM. It has EVERYTHING to do with them. They get 2 sets of rules one at each household, 2 different significant other's to deal with, 2 different bedrooms to sleep in, 2 different schedules to deal with and , 2 unhappy parents.
Kids end up paying for YOUR CHOICE to separate/divorce.

You are teaching them relationships are hard and Mom and Dad couldn't do it, so they wont probably be able to either.

If you are getting physically abused- PLEASE leave ASAP. But if you aren't, please seek marriage therapy. (it works!!)

Teach your kids all valuable relationships take work and when you love someone you gladly work at it.

1
0 0

True, it does affect them, but you don't want them to feel that any of it was their fault or they were the cause. Telling them that you are separating is a very sensitive matter, to be dealt with carefully, in a manner that shows you understand how hard this is on them and you are both willing to help and support them through it any way that you can. Of course it is about them, their whole world is changing. It is so important to have that open line of communication so the kids can feel free to express their feelings and if needed seek counseling for them. It is the parents job to make sure the transition for the kids goes smoothly and every effort is made to help them through it in any way you can. I was in an abusive relationship which was causing more damage then good to my children to see this. My two boys were learning the wrong way to treat your spouse, and I was not going to put them through that anymore. We did try counseling, but both parents need to be willing to make changes and try, if they are not both committed 100% to working on it, then it is not going to get better. I am now in another relationship, one that is loving, caring and respectful. My kids now see someone treating their Mom in a way that is so supportive and they see the difference in me. My household is very stress free compared to what they are used to at their fathers. This is sort of a reprieve for them when they come here. We share custody 50/50 and are both very involved in their lives. It is very difficult at times to be around my ex but I put my feelings aside, it is all about the kids and we have a business partnership to raise our children and provide a good life for them. I pray, I teach my kids to pray, my fiancée and I have discovered the Lord together, and we are trying hard to make sure they have a happy life.

View More
0 0

My perspective is from a child's view. My parents divorced after 18 years of marriage and while we still have a good relationship and I am an adult now, it is still very hard. I would respect their feelings. Your child's anger and pain are normal and to be expected. Don't think that they will get over it quickly or easily. I recommend counseling or some sort of family therapy.

Once the seperation occurs, never talk negatively about your ex in front of them or to them. They don't need to know any details about the marriage and why it soured.

1
5 0

After being in relationship with him for 3 years, he broke up with me, I did everything possible to bring him back but all was in vain, I wanted him back so much because of the love I have for him, I begged him with everything, I made promises but he refused. I explained my problem to someone online and she suggested that I should rather contact a spell caster that could help me cast a spell to bring him back but I am the type that never believed in spell, I had no choice than to try it, I mailed the spell caster, and he told me there was no problem that everything will be okay before three days, that my ex will return to me before three days, he cast the spell and surprisingly in the second day, it was around 4pm. My ex called me, I was so surprised, I answered the call and all he said was that he was so sorry for everything that happened, that he wanted me to return to him, that he loves me so much. I was so happy and went to him, that was how we started living together happily again. Since then, I have made promise that anybody I know that have a relationship problem, I would be of help to such person by referring him or her to the only real and powerful spell caster who helped me with my own problem and who is different from all the fake ones out there. Anybody could need the help of the spell caster, his email is DRAISEDIONSPELLCASTER@GMAIL.COM you can email him if you need his assistance in your relationship or any other problem.

0
12 0

My name is Andrey mark,from United Kingdom, i am in the England army, one day, we went to Iraq, leaving my wife and two kids. I was away from home for ONE year, when I returned my wife told me she was no longer interested in the marriage that if she could survive for 1 year without me, the marriage is meaningless. Leaving home for ONE year was not easy but not having a family when i came back was more difficult. I pleaded continuously with her for 2 years even left the army just to convince her but all my attempt to get her back failed.On one faithful day, as I was about to sign a friend's guest book, I saw a post about a spell caster, at first I laughed but took the email address and phone number. After 2days something inside of me just asked me to contact him so i did and he cast a spell for me and he told me she was going to come back to me after 24 hours, to my surprise she called me even before the 24 hours elapsed and she said honey where are you, I'm outside the house, please come and open the door for me. I opened the door and she came in, immediately she fell down on her knees and apologized to me, she said she was wrong to have left me and said she wanted me back. This is a big miracle..... All thanks to Dr iayaryi of (driayaryi2012@hotmail.com), if not for him,I wonder the kind of life I would have lived. I want to use this medium to encourage other men and women out there, to contact this great spell caster, he is one of the greatest spell caster that ever exist. Dr iayaryi have all kinds of spell and these include Love spell, Lucky spell,business spell,spell to stop divorce, Favor spell, curing spell e.t.c. This is his direct contact: (driayaryi2012@hotmail.com) or you can contact him directly through his personal (driayaryi2012@hotmail.com)

0
24 0

My name is jones clifford from USA .I am here to give testimony on how I got my husband back. My husband left me for no reason 3 years ago. He moved in with another woman, I felt like killing myself, my life became very bitter and sorrowful. Then 1 day, a friend of mine told me about a great spell caster that is very good and, he said he gave him some lucky numbers that he played in a lottery and he won. I didn't believe it because I've worked with so many of them and it didn't work. He begged me further so I decided to try this great spell caster called DR steve. I still didn't believe. I used the spell he gave me and the next day I received a call from my darling husband Thomas last month. He apologized and came back to me. He even gave me 10,000USD as a means of compensating me. I'm very happy now. Thank you DR steve, You can reach him via email:(prophetogogalaga@gmail.com...He can solve any problem like,

(1) If you want your ex back.

(2) you need a divorce in your relationship.

(3) You want to be promoted in your office

(4) You want women & men to run after you.

(5) If you want a child.

(6) You want to be rich.

(7) You want to tie your husband & wife to be yours forever
.
(8) If you need financial stance.

(9) He can make you pregnancy.

(10) He can cure you from any diseases.

contact:prophetogogalaga@gmail.com... contact before it will be too late

0
7 0

I want to appreciate Dr.Kasee of ONIMALOVESPELL@GMAIL.COM for bringing back my husband who left me and the kids for almost 2 years. i never taught i would never get him back untill i saw a comment online about dr. Kasee and i contacted him, after following all instruction given to me by Dr.Kasee, my husband came back begging for forgiveness within the space of 48hours. Thanks doctor your spell is really great. For those of you who have marriage/relationship problem should contacct him for help via email: onimalovespell@gmail.com and experience it yourself.

0
1

Hello to the world at edge,

I want you to hear a good testimony of the great love Dr Odige of odigelovespelltemple@yahoo.com) who help me on my time of problems,
My name is Joyce and i am from France and i am married with 2kids and i had a lovely family before before all the problem i want to share with you happened,my husband use to be very caring and lovely to me and my kids and we were very happy with each other,until a day and we where having a dinner in one of the restaurant in our state and their was a lady who was sitting close to us and i never knew she was interested to have my husband and due to i was with my husband she could not do anything there then after that day,my husband started to maltreat us at home not knowing that he his seeing that lady until a friend came to told me and i confirm it my self it really hurt due to the love we shared before,it really affected me until a friend who came from Africa told me about the powers of Africa spell Doctors specially Dr Odige of odigelovespelltemple@yahoo.com,even if i did not believe in spell i had nothing but to try and to my greatest surprise my husband came back home and beg me and now we are living more happy than before please you all should come together and thanks these great Dr Odige of odigelovespelltemple@yahoo.com,He can also help you if you believe in him and these is contact: http://odigelovespellsolution.webs.com/,thanks thanks once again

0
    Edit  |   Delete  |   Get Your Widget
62 0

My parents split when I was 2 - I am 23 now - I think just tell them that you both want to explore the world a and learn a bit more and you need to do it by yourselves but you are still friends.

0
3 0

How old are the children? It does not matter how long you are married. If the children are teenagers it is going to be difficult for them. However, if your marriage was a bad one with constant fighting and bickering where the children could hear it, you both need to sit them down and tell them the reason for separating and reaffirm to them that it is not their fault and that you both love them and will try to make it as easy on them and yourselves as possible. If they are very young simple explanations will suffice until they are older.

0
0 28

be honest.

0
36 20

See the movie Fireproof.

0
0 4

Well this has just happened to me after 33 years of marriage my husband has fallen out of love for me and he wanted his own life we have 5 children ages ranging from 27 to 16 it has been very hard on the children as my husband keeps saying it is between your mum & me and they have no business in it. But my children want to know why? but husband cant give them an answer which is quite upsetting. He has felt like this for 10 plus years so it would have been easier if he had said it then but he said he was only staying for the kids.

0
0 12

we had been married for 22 years, my husband had an affair with a 21 year old, my 16 year old daughter was sitting in the living room while my ex husband as now was telling me he was leaving, he walked through the living room on the way out and said to our daughter, sorry im leaving i have been seeing some one. she was devistated and never spoken to him since, that was 4 years ago.

0
2 13

Want a place to blog & vent about your issues? Go to:

http://whatsitallabout.webs.com/index.htm

See ya there!

0
13 11

depends how old the children are. high school... up front, honest with facts.. below high school upfront, honest but without adult talk. at all ages make sure they know you love them more than anything and it is nothing they have done.

0
3 38

Just tell them because no matter how you say it; it's not goina make the situation any easier. They have to face reality sooner or later. If the kids are younger then they aren't goina really understand anyway no matter how you try to color code it.

0
2 12

This is a subject that defies the purpose of a happy family.... In mentioning that, why do people get together just to decide to change their mind about what is important once to them, then just about them.... For the children effected it will be damaging because they would probably think it was their fault that mummy or daddy couldn't stay living at home.... To have children they are a very spectacular treasure.... So to treat them how parents come and go in their lives are unbelieveable.... As long as they have support from Whanau and friends they will be fine alot of support helps but in the back of the childs mind is the missing someone they once knew, loved and respected and to be told they wont be coming home no more that will be devastating.... A break up is not one of my favorite subjects because there is alot of pain and suffering....

0
2 0

tell them that mummy has finally seen sense and is going it alone cos it's better than putting up with the rubbish that most men put us through and then have a big party to celebrate........

0
1 0

Don't. Marriage is a calling to do your best to make sure your spouse gets to heaven, and you aren't going to be able to do that if you are separated. Divorce is also terrible for the kids because it shows that you are not capable of loving even in bad times. So the answer is, work it out with your spouse, and don't tell your kids you are separating.

0
0 0

I was in the same scenario 20 years ago. I was the kid whose parents were separating after being together for 15 years. There is no one single way of saying it to your child. Each child is different. Some mature faster giving the parents a more manageable discussion. Some do not and will choose not to understand and turn a blind eye. Having said that how to tell your child of your separation depends a lot on how you think the child will take it. But, always, always be truthful. Spare the sensitive and delicate details, but just be straightforward and never sugarcoat. And despite what will happen to your marriage, let the child know that when it comes to them, you are still "together", albeit physically and emotionally separated already.

0
0 2

l was there like 8 years ago and let me say its not easy for like if the children demanded to know what happened .so l had to to take time due there age and the only soft words l told them is due there age l will explain it when they get older.And even though it was not my wish what so ever to remain single then l remarried for l needed somebody to be with so that l can forget the past quickly and move on with my life. Now am moving on though they keep on asking when we will go back but the stressing thing is that their father refused to let us tell them what is happening ,and then after some time cause l refused any visit since he had to tell them am the one who is bad and they should not listen to what l say it became a war and l had to silence him by all means for l knew he was to no good. Now they are a bit grown and in high school am traying fighting with my mind what to tell them so that they feel okey and bear it the way the things are for it happens in our life though painful to now is not ready to sit and address them.so others who are in the same scenario please it depends with the parents if they agree on to settle the matter for others make it more difficulty to handle but with Gods help for the end of the tunnel you will get some light just be strong and pray for the solution to come.

View More
10 0

Your children should be aware that you have been having problems. Some parents hide their conflicts from children and when "the perfect" marriage falls apart they suffer immensely. They even require psychological help. Best way is to make them participants of the issues you are having. I meant the they know what is going on
They are intelligent enough to understand, as long as you show them they are not the reason for the separation because they will feel guilty. Love is the best medicine to help them understand and cope with it.

0
22 1

Tough time. No doubt the children are teens. They will have alot of questions some personal. This will be hard for you cuz somehow you will have to find a way not to discount your self or your spouse. Remember the chidren aren't at fault but they get divorced too
They are going to be with their parents on a different playing level... Seperatly. They need some security. Bad mouthing each other will definately force them to take sides That's where the
Insecurity comes in
Be nice to each other if only in front of the kids
PLAY NICE

0
0 0

Me and my husband we're separated 6 years ago. Since I was being bitten by him for 5 years,I decided to have our separate ways. I thank God that my kid is so smart that he understands well what's going on between me and his dad. He told me that it's better for us to live separately than to see that I'm always crying and being bitten by his dad.I'm thankful for my kid's emotional support to me. He is now 10 years old.

0
1 11

I hope your ex has had some therapy for his behaviour - biting people is never acceptable.

View More
5 0

I had to do this after 21 years of marriage. Our youngest was 14 at the time.
It's just being honest with them, I started out by saying that I just wasn't very happy and hadn't been for awhile.
He said " I know mum", it broke my heart.
They feel way more than they see believe me.
If parents are not happy in the same house, then its best for all that they live apart.
My children are much happier, everyone adjusts as long as you can talk about whats happening.
Probably the reason I was unhappy, my husband and I didn't talk.

0
6 1

I couldn't agree more. Staying in a marriage unhappy negatively affects everyone the children included. There's problems in all relationships what's important is how you handle them and communication is so important. Relationships can't be salvaged by ignoring problems and children sense the tension. I'm a proponent of family counseling as method to help couples and families;however, even this doesn't work for everyone. If you can be happier apart then I believe you should divorce. Abuse comes in many forms and is defined differently by individuals; thus, it should not be the only prerequisite for divorce and noone should have to live unhappily simply for fear they won't be able to have happy healthy children. Children will go through many cycles as they grow and I've watched children whose parents were together happily znd unhappily travel down wrong roads and vice versa. A divorce or remarriage isnt necessarily the culprit for unhappy children.

6 1

How you handle talking to your children will vay greatly depending on of course their age appropriate level and If the separation is permanent and will lead to a divorce or if you are simply separating to allow space to sort things out and see where you want to go with the marriage.

If the separation is leading to divorce - I can only tell you to simply let younger children know that a parent will no longer live with them but (hopefully this is the case) they can see them on (give them specifics) the day or days you and your spouse have agreed upon. I think its very important (regardless on if you agree on nothing else) that you and your spouse agree on creating a regimented schedule when it comes to the kids. Something that works for both of you. I would also suggest that you both allow the children to ask you questions about the situation but be careful how you answer so not to put the other parent down (sometimes just allowing the kids to tell you their thoughts and feelings about things works better than actually commenting or making a huge discussion about it). Older children may act out or turn inward and not want to discuss anything but be careful these children can wind up hanging out with the wrong crowd doing things you wouldn't expect but I believe this can all be avoided if you and your spouse work together when it comes to the kids and if you can't do this at lease don't talk negatively about the other parent. I went through a hateful divorce 10 years ago and nothing I did worked when it came to my ex; thus, we both lashed out and often the kids were in the middle. They both suffer from the divorce even today as young adults. The bad thing is that the "system" does nothing to protect kids mainly because it's always a he said, she said situation but bottom line is the parents eventually move on but the kids are still hurting and noone understands why they can't get over it.

I hope this helps some.

Good luck.

0
0 0

Great advice. My ex and I went through a separation and then divorce. It's been a year and a half and things have gone from ugly, ok, civil, and now ugly again. Your advice about not putting the kids in the middle is such great advice. I have tried to please him, let him have his way about most everything, but he is not happy. He talks bad about me and my boyfriend all the time in front of the kids. He has been through two relationships and I have had to be around both of these women because they had kids involved in my kids activities and school. I have been very civil about it. However, if my boyfriend even rides along to pick up the kids from an activity, my ex lashes out and harasses us in front of the kids. The poor kids are stuck in the middle. I try hard to protect my kids and my boyfriend and I have made the decision to never talk about my ex in front of the kids. They don't need to know my or his opinion of him. He is their father, I want them to have a good relationship with him, no matter how awful he is to me. Any advice on dealing with a difficult ex? I am now on anxiety medication and seeking counseling for the 15 years of emotional abuse. I would love to learn some coping skills in dealing with the times that we do have to be around each other or have communication with each other. I don't want to be spineless and always give in, I want to stand my ground, and be fair to everyone.

View More

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms