Would you tell your children all the nitty gritty details as to why you broke up with your ex?

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Tara - posted on 06/04/2009

101

14

18

I told my boys the truth but in preschooler language. Mommy and Daddy love each other but not enough to stay married. They didn't need to know that dad dumped mom because he loved me but wasn't in love with me. What has helped my boys tremendously is that Dad and I are friends and don't fight etc. We put all the old hurts past us 'cause it's not important anymore and just focus on our babies.

If you see this, leave this form field blank.
Powered by RESPECT not THUMPS

53 Comments

View replies by

Jaime - posted on 07/30/2009

769

35

94

It is my opinion, and I probally said it in a post above (I didn't reread what I have previously posted), I don't think the child/children should be told anything regarding the breakup/divorce. It doesn't have anything to do with the child or the love either parent has for that child. You are right Chrisiti- it is absolutely none of there business, and I hope it doesn't back fire on those that feel the need to tell all the details.

Thanks for all the responses!

[deleted account]

I've never told my babies, now 17, 12 & 9.. and probably never will. it's really none of there business. My personal relationship was not up for discussion. "We divorced b/c it didn't work out, but one thing for sure we both love all of you" is all I say. They have such a great relationship w/my ex and I that that topic doesn't ever really come up. I don't want them to judge my ex or me based on what we did 2/eachother anyway. It's not fair to either parent. Kids love both parents and if you tell them ur one sided events they may form opinions based on that. I like to call that manipulation and/or brainwashing. lol I've also seen if first hand.. The one doing all the trash talk, the kids will grow up to resent, even if u believe it to be the truth. It's not there truth and they probably will never see that side of the parent anyway. Just love w/a smile even if ur world is coming to an end b/c of the other.

Stephanie - posted on 07/30/2009

24

10

1

No! You can explain that you just didn't agree on things anymore and decided it would be better for the children that they not be in a hostile environment. Details are not necessary...even if it was an abusive situation. Just state that the other parent was "mean" to you and you didn't want to be treated that way. As they get older, you can explain more to them...not too much! You do not want to make them hate the other parent...that can always backfire!

Julie - posted on 07/30/2009

5

10

1

I believe you speak badly of a parent in front of a child. My son is 15 and I have had to keep my mouth shut on a lot of things, he has come to realize that I never speek badly but his father does and he has stopped seeing or communicating with his father several times due to this. Let them love both parents and they will come to realize who is the bigger person by letting bygones be bygones.

[deleted account]

However, I do not give "nitty gritty" details. I answer the questions honestly, and the answer is usually that I don't know and she needs to ask her mother.



Just thought I'd clarify... :) I never speak badly about her mother to or in front of my daughter. Period.

[deleted account]

I answer her questions honestly (her mother left her not once, but twice). But, if she asks me "Why did my mom leave?" or "Why doesn't my mom call me?" (her mother has not called for over a month now) or anything similar to that, I tell her that I do not know. I tell her that those are questions that she needs to ask her mother as I have no idea what goes on in that woman's head that makes her do what she does.



my daughter is 6, almost 7, and her mother has been in and out of her life since she was barely 3. I came into her life when she was almost 4.

Trisha - posted on 07/27/2009

13

2

1

I tell my kids as much as they want to know while keeping it age friendly ....my ex was abusive and my oldest child witnessed the abuse on more than one ocassion so I have talked more with him about it but while I dont bad mouth thier Dad they have started to come to thier own conclusions about him based on his behavior Ie not coming to see them saying he will do this or that with them and then when they ask him denying he promised heck he doesnt even call more than twice a month and hasnt paid his childsupport in almost a year

Shannon - posted on 07/27/2009

69

28

2

There are so many people who don't let their children develop their own opinions about how to feel about their parents. Your children deserve the chance to love and respect or even sometimes dislike you and their father based on their own personal experiences with each of you. Focus on securing your relationship wiht your children and NEVER undermine your children's relationship with their father. If you talk about the bad, they will be too busy listening to that and won't have time to pay attention to the good. Remember, there was something that made you love their father at one time, even for a brief moment, so give them a chance to find their something that keeps them loving their father. In the future, they will look back and remember how supportive and mature their mother was during a very difficult situation. They will respect you for that.

Nicole - posted on 07/26/2009

0

0

2

I have chosen to not tell my children what exactly went wrong with their dad, as far as im concerned they didn't do anything wrong their dad did. I have always tried to project a positve image of their dad and never talked bad about him. My older son has seen his fathers true colours and I have had to deal with all the emoitional scares that he has left but I always try to answer their question with the truth but not in detail.Their Kids they don't need to have to deal with adult isses at this youn age.

Christina - posted on 06/11/2009

1

9

0

I am a child of divorce and am now a stepmom of two ages 13 & 14... As a child I knew too much about my parents which made me recent them. Speaking from experience a child does not need DETAILS. My mother had alot of anger and was always bashing my father... on the other hand my father never said anything negative about my mother. He wanted me to have a relationship with her regardless of the circumstances. That is how it should be. Bad spouse doesn't mean bad parent.

Now ... I have been married for over 4 years and do not have any of my own, but my stepchildren live with us full time so they are very much mine. They have visitation with there mom. As ugly as this situation has been we ultimately want them to love there mom regardless of how bad she may be as a person/parent. They no longer have to live in the situation and our home is stable and consistant. I am probably over involved in all activities and my husband and I have a united front always when it comes to decisions.

We have had to share certain things, but refuse to share all. They are already hurting enough from the divorce. Now that mine are older they are figuring things out on there own. It hurts to watch there hurt and not be able to do anything about it. I hate seeing there hurt and anger. Children are not stupid they get it. You don't have to say more than necessary. Answer honestly without all the details. Remember the truth is the truth, but realize who is hurting because of it. The child.

Lisa - posted on 06/10/2009

30

32

2

not until they are way older & sometimes not even then... right now prolly alot of hurt feelings going around & it's very tempting to dish the dirt, but you have to remember to do what is best for your child & protect them from as much damage as possible. As hard as divorce is on you, it's 10 times that for kids b/c they all of the sudden have to choose... mom or dad... it's a bad place to be. Even as they get older the children feel they have to be a constant mediator/peacekeeper, so the less smash & trash, the better in my opinion. Although, like I said it's not always easy.

Abby - posted on 06/10/2009

5

6

0

I think that they should know at some point, but keep things on thier age level. No need to tell the kids things that would make them dislike thier dad. Divorce is hard enough on them..I never say anything negitive about my sons father infront of him. Why make him choose sides?

Cidalia - posted on 06/10/2009

163

41

22

Quote: "dont make the father out to be a monster because 1 day your child might decide they want to start seeing them when they are older i.e 16+"

What if their father IS a monster? I have felt the need to tell my children, in age appropriate ways a bit of the truth of why I am no longer with their father (he is not in the picture). He was in jail for child molestation that went on covertly for at least 6 years with his main victim and eventually he victimized another child (both relatives of his). There is no relationship there to protect. I make it clear that what he did (bad touching) had nothing to do with them or with me, it was something that was wrong with him, and that I will explain a little better when they are older. In this situation, I think the truth needs to be told just enough so they understand that they weren't abandoned by their father... I am just trying to protect them by keeping them away from him, and I don't want my daughter going in blindly to make contact with her father when she's 16 not knowing what she's walking into. It sucks and I wish they didn't have to deal with any of this and that they could have some sort of relationship with bio dad, but it's not in their best interest, nor is it in their best interest for me not to tell the truth.

Claire - posted on 06/10/2009

10

16

1

NO i recently had to explain to my son why he could not go visit his father who does not give a damn about him.



i was in a violent relationship and found the courage after my son was 1 year old to leave that was 9 years ago. i explained that mum and dad shouted alot and that we didnt get along and that is why i left him. i didnt mention anything to do with the violence i also told him that his father has a new family now and if he was really wanting to make contact he would have done before now.



dont make the father out to be a monster because 1 day your child might decide they want to start seeing them when they are older i.e 16+ and then they can decide if he is good or not. always tell them you are there for them because if it doesnt work out we the mothers are always there to pick up the peices. my son was alright about this and is happy with his life the way it is.

Jaime - posted on 06/09/2009

769

35

94

Yes, Candie!!
Being the victim is way too convient for them, the more far fetched and crazy the accusations become, the better they feel about themselves. Hearing alot of the crazy accusations, it is no wonder they have an ex. I am just generalizing, not pointing fingers at everyone that has an ex, there are alot of legit reasons for breakups, just laughing and wondering where some people come up with some things.... watching too many soaps if you ask me!

Candie - posted on 06/08/2009

5

0

0

Some of the are so amazingly outlandish it makes one wonder how long it took her crack fried brain to come up with them...

Candie - posted on 06/08/2009

5

0

0

Absolutely not... I don't believe that children should know anything of the sort. Of course my husband's ex has chose to lie to their kids and tell them that DH beat and abused her and them, rather than tell them she was a drug sniffing trade sex for crack until DH couldn't take it anymore.

Joanna - posted on 06/08/2009

4

4

0

In our situation, my husband & his ex-wife got married way too young and for all the wrong reasons. My 5 year old step-daughter has started asking questions to her daddy about why he and her mom aren't married anymore. Just like most everyone on this post, we choose to explain just enough to curb her curiosity 'til the next time she asks. So far this has worked remarkably, but we know that one day, she may need a much larger explanation. We'll cross that bridge when we get there...

Laura - posted on 06/04/2009

215

8

29

I have two now teenage stepdaughters. They came to live permanently with their father when they were 7 and nine. I could tell you stories that would give you nightmares and their drug addict-prostitute mother is here on facebook. My oldest realized after a year of living with us that I can't lie no matter how hard I try so she pushed me into telling her the truth. Being the step-mom, I went and got my husband and had him help me. We hardly said a word. Just handed the child the court papers. When she asked questions, we answered them. She had enough details of the horrors she went through in her own memory so we didn't go into more detail than she asked for.
The girls have seen their bio-mom twice in 7 years. Neither time was pleasant. They call me mom and refuse to even consider the other as their mom. It still bothers them once in a while that their blood mom truly doesn't care but they have me and they see I treat them no different than I treat my son. As far as I'm concerned, these are MY kids and I've quite protective of them. The best thing I could suggest is don't lie, but don't give any more details than the child asks for.

Jennifer - posted on 06/03/2009

49

65

3

in our house its a bit of a hard debate. BM was young when she had the kids (under 19). they had been married and she ran around on my husband my SD (who is the younger of the 2) was less than a year old when my husband served BM with divorce papers and she left with out both children. she has since been married and divorced and 2nd time, and married for a third. this last divorce she and all 4 children (she had 2 with the 2nd husband) moved in with the new guy before the divorce was over and they were told to call the man "uncle" and she then married the man. my SS & SD are now 10 and 9... we have had to disclose small bits of information to the kids because my husband and i worry that they will believe this behavior to be acceptable. they don't know every detail, but as they grow older they are starting to see the writing on the wall. i only hope that we can show them that marriage is a commitment and not something to be taken lightly.

Laura - posted on 06/03/2009

6

10

1

Definitely not. My mom used to badmouth my dad all the time and made me furious. I know he had his flaws but he is my dad and I don't like to hear him being badmouthed. It sometimes felt like she was insulting me because my dad and I are a lot alike. She is welcome to badmouth him to her friends all she wants. There are appropriate things to say to your kids, and other things that are appropriate to say to your girlfriends.

Kimi - posted on 05/30/2009

486

13

41

I don't have any kids from past relationships but I would refer to past boyfreinds if I were talking to my teenage daughters about healthy and unhealthy relationships definatly. You shouldn't villanize parents by shareing too mutch unless it is truly needed for their safety. Just a simple we don't love each other anymore is the correct response to give.

Sandy - posted on 05/30/2009

165

6

15

I have learnt so much from being a step mom ( mostly from all the mistakes I have made) and also from this forum. If my hubby and I ever broke up I would certainly handle things differently then I have in the past, also if I ever was a step mom again aside from this relationship I am in now, man I would definately not make the same mistakes again : ) For that I am so thankful that I have met you ladies

Sandy - posted on 05/30/2009

165

6

15

I know and really I have never heard of any situation where the children ( regardless of age ) benefited from knowing all the nasty details of an adult relationship. People will say this and that about wanting to be honest and tell the truth and so on and maybe that is truly what happened...but as parents it is our responsibility to do and say what is best for the children and I'm sorry but complete blunt brutal honesty and openness is not always what is best for them. Not only is it sometimes not best but it could do them alot of damage.

Jaime - posted on 05/29/2009

769

35

94

I agree Sandy. There is a BIG difference in lying and not telling them all the details. The breakup of the parents has nothing to do with the child, it is the parents differences. They are already going to feel the stress from both parents, why burden them with details of the relationship?

Sandy - posted on 05/29/2009

165

6

15

There is a difference between lying to a child and not telling them something, and if a child does ask a pointed question there are also ways that things can be put that would hurt them less then being bluntly honest.

Andrea - posted on 05/29/2009

63

13

2

my step dauther knows why her mother told her and she also knows that her mom really does not want her

REBECCA - posted on 05/29/2009

14

47

1

That would conpletely depend on how old they are. 2ndly, I wouldn't lie to them. If they ask, you need to be completely honest.

Dwayna - posted on 05/27/2009

13

15

1

My kids father and I were married 9 years together 11. It is important to me that our kids know that one time we loved each other like nothing you ever knew at one time. I dont want them to know the bad things because I dont feel they need to see that side of their dad. I just tell them he made bad choices not good ones and that we are friends now. Truth is he cheate don me with more than 8 women ( he is military) and is now married to the last one he cheated on me with he is 32 she is 21. Imagine what a joy she is to deal with. But regaurdless I want them to know that we did care for each other and that sometimes things dont go as planned but we must always work hard at everything we do.

Sonya - posted on 05/26/2009

1

5

0

Never! Children deserve to form their own opinions & it has no bearing on the father's feelings for thier children. It is unfair to man bash to a child. It was between husband & wife & needs to stay that way. Life is hard enough for children of divorce the way it is.

Jaime - posted on 05/26/2009

769

35

94

Exactly!

I just don't think no matter what the reason for the breakdown in the relationship should the child know what happened. Is it so hard to tell the child "mommy and daddy don't love each other any more, and we weren't happy together, but that does not affect the way we love you" You are not lying to the child, you are being honest because I am assuming you don't love your ex, otherwise you may still be together.

In my husbands case, his son has been told pretty much the whole story by his mom (it has been posted on here in other conversations-bits and pieces) he has been told his father cheated, shown letters his father had supposedly written, the break up happened with the child was still a baby so he would have absolutely no recollection of the relationship. I think it would be a totally different story if he had of been older, saw the relationship between parents and was witness to the infedelity. But come on, why do you tell your child how you broke up with the other parent? Do you not think this does some damage to the relationship between the child and other parent?

Sorry, not trying to start a war, and everyone's choice is there own on how much info to dissclose to there child. I just think let them be kids, don't bad mouth the pther parent.

Joanna - posted on 05/26/2009

33

9

1

in some respect i would tell them part of the reason but the the whole reason like my step-daughter is 3 and when her mom and my husband was married she had cheated on him with his best friend and got pregnant by the best friend so no i don't think that she should know everything just cause i dont want that to effect the relationship that they have as mother and daughter. my sd thinks very high of her mom and i would never want to ruin that for her or her mom.

Jaime - posted on 05/19/2009

769

35

94

Thanks Di! I think you are awesome!

I didn't ask this question with the intention of pointing my finger at any one in particular,

just wanted opinions and that is what I got. Thanks ladies!

Di - posted on 05/18/2009

521

20

47

I tried to post this before but the net was playing up. Everything that I read on the subject says categorically NO. Children do not have the life experiences and skills to cope with adult situations and issues. Just as you would never talk to your children about your sex life, you should never talk about what has happened in the relationship breakdown of the parents. The children cannot reason the wrongs and rights and can only react on an emotional level. She/he hurt him/her so I dont like her/him anymore. Separation from the parent is hard enough without trying to fill a child's head with adult issues. On some levels it is a form of child abuse. The fact is in any situation there are three truths, yours, mine and then the real truth. Every person tells their truth by lessening their part in it and exagerating the others part in it. Its just human nature. So by disclosing the nitty gritty is just an adults way of trying to gain sympathy for their pain and to alienate the other parent.

Jaime - posted on 05/18/2009

769

35

94

Quoting Debbie:

Hi, I have said this before and I will say it again, Kids do not need to know the details of their parents break up! All it does is put pressure on them to side with the parent that is made out to be the victim. All they need to know is that their parents once loved each other but it didnt work and that they both love the child/children.
I have seen first hand the damage it does to the relationship with the child/partner that is 'at fault' When you break down all the reasons for doing it is to try and 'win' the affections of the child/children so that the custodial parent can rub it in the non-custodial parents face. I believe you should never pass on your bitterness to your kids, they are kids let them be. Let them grow up in their innocence, and keep it at that. As long as the parent never hurt the child then there should be no reason to interfere with that relationship!!
Have a great day!!!



Debbie- you said this perfect!



 

Debbie - posted on 05/18/2009

626

5

103

Hi, I have said this before and I will say it again, Kids do not need to know the details of their parents break up! All it does is put pressure on them to side with the parent that is made out to be the victim. All they need to know is that their parents once loved each other but it didnt work and that they both love the child/children.

I have seen first hand the damage it does to the relationship with the child/partner that is 'at fault' When you break down all the reasons for doing it is to try and 'win' the affections of the child/children so that the custodial parent can rub it in the non-custodial parents face. I believe you should never pass on your bitterness to your kids, they are kids let them be. Let them grow up in their innocence, and keep it at that. As long as the parent never hurt the child then there should be no reason to interfere with that relationship!!

Have a great day!!!

Sandy - posted on 05/18/2009

165

6

15

It is far easier to leave angry words unspoken....then to mend the hearts those words have broken. My new favorite quote

Sandy - posted on 05/18/2009

165

6

15

I am not a huge fan of putting kids in the middle this way. Ultimately what happens is that whatever version they hear from one parent they ask the next parent...making the parents feel as though they each have to defend themselves and extend their own version and on and on leaving the child in the middle to try to decide which aspects to believe from each story...believe me...I speak from experience...its only causes the child pain. Even as adults...what do they really need to know about the details that involve the break up of two people they love? In every story there are two truths...the real truth lay somewhere between the two.

Tee - posted on 05/18/2009

90

35

20

I agree with you also. The children do not need to know the details but when one parent spills the beans the other parent has to clean it up!

Jaime - posted on 05/18/2009

769

35

94

Sarah I totally agree with you, Kids should remain kids as long as they can. They grow up to fast as it is. I also agree that when the child is a late teen/adult then they can know the whole story regarding there parents.

Tee - posted on 05/18/2009

90

35

20

Well in my husband's situation the kids know half of the story. His ex-wife left him and got an apartment on her own. She left the kids with him for about a month and moved on with her life. She did all of this without telling him. When their daughter asked what happened she told them that she got a new apartment and daddy didn't want to come to live with them in their new home.



In reality, she left him for a previous boyfriend she had before they were married. The guy she left him for was married and apparently she was under the impression that he was going to leave his wife like she left her husband. The guy stayed with his wife and she was now alone. She tried to get her husband back and he wasn't going for it so she turned it around and told the kids that he wouldn't move in with them.



My husband has had to explain to the kids that mommy moved out because she was not happy with daddy. Anyway, this was about 7 years ago so they don't even speak about it anymore. I think the kids somewhat know why their parents are not together anymore.

Erika - posted on 05/18/2009

12

19

1

As kids no, but if they ask when they are adults and can understand and process the answer yes. But through everything they must know its not their fault and they are always loved!

Sarah - posted on 05/16/2009

27

24

1

Not at all, kids deserve to be kids for as long as they can be!!! You will probably have the conversation when they are old enough to understand what happened but they dont need nitty gritty details, it doesnt do anyone any good

Catrina - posted on 05/16/2009

163

21

19

Exactly!!!

I don't tell my son "Oh see your dad said crap like that to me, don't say it again" no no no! I've seen the way he's acted sometimes, and all I've told him is that same general thing - without naming his dad - that he really needs to think before he acts/speaks. It could be the best thing he could do. I am actually proud to say that every time my son goes anywhere - he's always been complimented on his patience and sincerity. He is asked often at school to help with any fragile kids and to be the "buddy"....

So I think I've done an ok job! We can't change things about the past. So I've learned to embrace it! I've conquered hell and made it back.........

Jennifer - posted on 05/16/2009

70

10

9

I answer my kids' questions when they ask, but I try to keep it as simple as possible.



I don't know if there will ever come a day I would tell them details, even as adults. We've had MANY discussions about the right way to treat people, and that's when I use examples that cover the same subject, but do not specifically name their father. This is why I believe they have a vague idea.



For me, that's all I plan to provide unless they ask specific, detail type questions. (But then again, what has ever really gone according to 'plan', right?! ;o) )

If you see this, leave this form field blank.
Powered by RESPECT not THUMPS

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