Explaining Divorce to kids

Amanda - posted on 02/23/2010 ( 9 moms have responded )

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My kids are small but they understand that mommy and daddy are not together. My question is, how do I deal with the horrible things their father tells them about me? Even though I know they are untrue, my kids are not old enough to differentiate. Please help!

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Jennifer - posted on 02/25/2010

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Well you need to stay strong for your kids. Don't talk bad about their father and you do not to address question that the kids have.(LIke dad said you don't love us.... you simply say " Mommy is always here for you when you need me and I will always love you and your brother".. I had to go through a divorce myself and the kids were 5 and 2.. And my ex at that time was a dickhead and was tring to get the kids on hisside if that means anything to you, put we were fighting for who the kids were going to live with in the house hold.. It was a very difficult time for me and any mother that fells that they could posibly lose their kids..so hand in there!!!!!

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My best friend goes through this all the time. She has spoken to her ex numerous times but he is very vindictive. She tells the children how much she and their dad love them and the fact that daddy is just upset and it has nothing to do with them. She says daddy says mean things that aren't true because he is very angry and sad but he doesn't really mean it.

Shari - posted on 02/25/2010

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When my sister and her husband split up I watched my neices face when she would hear her mom talk bad about her dad and although she agreed with her mom she would look so hurt. She was 18 at the time so it isn't any easier even at that age. I finally told her in front of my sister that she has the right to say "this is my mom and I love her" to her dad and his family if something is sad against her mom and also to say "That is my dad and I love him" to her mom and anyone in our family who would talk bad about her dad. Just being given the permission to say that was a relief to her and she started crying... this was a big wake up call for my sister who realized then how much she was hurting her daughter. Wish it was that simple with young kids but they wouldn't understand nor would they have the ability to stand up for a parent without fear of losing the love of the parent. Instead just point out that daddy is mad at mommy and saying things because he is mad and hurt, it doesn't mean what he says is true. Then remind them how much both you and their dad love them.

Angel - posted on 02/24/2010

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Just give your kids all the love you can. Don't bad mouth the dad it makes you just as wrong as him. They have lots of books on talking to kids about divorce on many different age levels. And there is a group called Rainbows that works with kids dealing with divorce or a death in the family. ( It helped my kids alot and they knew they weren't the only ones to go thru this) . You can get Info on Rainbows from the schools or a social service offices. Hope this works for you. It sucks when one parent has to play a bitter part.

Sherri - posted on 02/24/2010

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My kids were 9 and 11 when I divorced their dad. We both explained to the kids that we still loved each other but did not love each other like boyfriend/girlfriend any more. our love for each other was like a best friend only. Circumstances to the separation came up as the kids grew older and were addressed age-appropriately. (innocence was a priority to me to keep. Youth only happens once)

Rhonda - posted on 02/23/2010

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My kids Dad and his family did the same thing when mine where little and theres not much you can do other then to ask them them to stop which in my case didnt help. The best thing to do is when they tell what he say's try to let them know that it's not true., and never let them hear you say bad things about him. Because soon they will grow up to see it not true and that will be all on him to explain why he said those things. I know thats not a lot of comfort now but it will be sooner then he thinks.

Teresa - posted on 02/23/2010

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when I got divorced 12 yrs ago, my kids were 1 and 4. It was a difficult thing to go through but I credit one thing to alitle better transition. The court made us go to a parenting class for people divorcing. I didn't know what to think at the time but after the class, which was a 1 day class all day, I was glad I had to go. It talked about different age groups and how the tend to handle certain situations and what they might ask or will be feeling. I went to the library and got some books to help explain thing more at their level. I did talk alot with my children, mostly the 4 yr old, and try to explain that just because mommy and daddy didn't live together we still loved them and that we just couldn't live together because mommy and daddy argued to much. It made things so much easier to be as honest as possible and only telling them things they could understand and to do it at their level. My younger child had alittle rougher time adjusting but she was only 1 and really couldn't understand until she was older. Hope this helps and good luck and best wishes!

Lisa - posted on 02/23/2010

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Do you have the resources for formal counseling? I think this would really be helpful...

Noami - posted on 02/23/2010

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I divorced when my son was 3 but as he got older he heard my ex say some horrible things. I told him that his dad was saying mean things because he is really sad because mommy and daddy are not together anymore. People say mean things when they are sad or mad.

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