How to tell my 5 years old daughter about divorce?

Queenie - posted on 03/31/2012 ( 3 moms have responded )




Me and my ex divorced more than 2 years ago, when I was just having my second baby. I found out he is cheating on me when I was still pregnant with my second child, and after the second child birth, he just decided to divorce me. That time my eldest was only 2 years old +, he asked me go back to my hometown and said that he will come over and visit the kids someday. Ever since my second child was born, he rarely see her, he doesn't come home, until the time he asked me to move back to my parents place. After that he practically gone missing, he never visit the kids until today, when my eldest is about to turn 5 years old and my younger one is turning 3 years old in another 3 weeks time. What got me most upset is, I brought the girl to his hometown for a few days holiday, hope that at least he will spend some times with the girl, but I guess it was too much, he practically off his mobile when it is about the time to meet up. Yesterday my aunt from US comes back to my hometown and ask my girls where is their father? My girl said my daddy is a bad person. It got me shock when she said that, cause I never really mention about him, as few months back, her dad finally wants to see her on Skype, when I on Skype, my daughter actually ask me, "mummy is this your friend?" I don't know how to react, cause the truth is their dad haven't see them for so long and they already forgot him. And now with the answer she told my aunt, what should I do? How should I tell her about our divorce? I don't want her to have bad impression on men. Help me!!!!


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Harper - posted on 04/19/2012




Im sorry about your situation... I think the important thing is to keep having the discussion with her as her grows up throughout her life to ensure she doesnt have a bad impression of men.

Jeorge - posted on 04/19/2012




First of all he has you jumping thru hoops. He needs to be the one begging these kids to give him a second chance.
Second explain to your children that you and daddy loved each other and were very blessed to have two wonderful children together. Than tell them that Mommy and Daddy couldn't get along and had to get a divorce. It means that you no longer live together.
Show them pictures and tell them stories but nothing is going to create a relationship if he is not willing to put in the time and effort.
Make sure they know they are loved and that they are amazing.

[deleted account]

Don't know if this will help, but some suggestions:

If you've got any photos of him you could put them in a photo album. (Even though my girls don't have any contact with their Dad again, they've got some photos -though haven't asked to look at them for ages now.)

You could say that you and your ex get on better when you're apart than living together (positive reinforcement about their Dad and keeps it neutral).

Talk to your 5 year old and ask why she thinks that her Dad is a bad person. Go from there.

Inform your family about your ex - mentioning that he's not in your children's lives and hopefully that'll put an end to most of the difficult questions (like your aunts). You don't have to go into detail but just make them aware. Certainly most of my family know that I'm a single parent and my girls' Dad doesn't feature in their lives.

Have lots of good male role models in their life. Even though my ex doesn't feature and we're better off without him, my girls have lots of good male models in their life. This includes my Dad (their Grandpa), two great uncles and cousins (again my family) and also friends' Dads etc.. They see how men should behave and be like. I have no worries that they've got a bad impression of men. Yes their Dad wasn't really Dad material, but at least my girls have lots of other men who show them a good role model.

When you've been talking to other adults about your ex, your eldest may have picked up vibes about how you feel about him, your frustrations about his lack of involvement etc.. Children are very good about picking up your feelings etc. about how you feel about things/people. Certainly worth talking to your daughters and informing them about their Dad - relevant to their age/stage of development. Keep it to the truth, but at the same time they don't need to be informed of every little detail (don't need to know at the moment that your ex had an affair when you were expecting your youngest at the moment - that can wait until they're older maybe).

Certainly if he wants to have contact with your children, then it needs to be regular and consistant. As you said - he's a stranger to them. He's got to show that he's interested in them. Maybe start writing letters to them, including a photo or two of him and maybe his family as well (including grandparents, girls' aunts and uncles, etc). Then this could progress to Skype. That way he's not someone you just happen to know, they know him as their Dad - even if he's just passing through their lives.

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