Helping youngest child deal with divorce...
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02-01-2014, 05:02 PM
RE: Helping youngest child deal with divorce...
Boy, this is really tough. I'm so glad you seem to have such a good handle on this, and that even though this guy seems he is not a good guy, that you don't want your kids to hear you say that. BRAVO!!

I'm an advice column junkie. One of the things I see come up a lot is what you are struggling with. Helping a child understand, and deal with a very adult situation. The advice I always see given, is that it's best to give them an age appropriate version of the truth. Trying to shield them from a difficult truth can make a scary situation even scarier, because they will create their own reasons in their mind. These can tend to be scarier than the reality of a situation.

It's really difficult here though, because a agree, the reasons for the divorce really can't be explained in detail, because I too think it's a good idea to let them find out for themselves if dad isn't a great guy. You're right, I'd bet your older daughter saw this coming. I'd imagine at her age it would be hard to miss this stuff. For your son, instead of telling him that your splitting because of adult stuff, and not to worry about it, I'd try saying something like "daddy and I disagreed on a lot of things, and sometimes we weren't very nice to each other because of this, and then we'd get mad at each other. We think we'll be happier, and be able to make you two happier in the long run if we don't live together anymore."

I really wish you all the best. That man worries me, and it sounds like he isn't planning on playing fair Confused it's going to be a long tough road,,but I really admire you sticking to your guns, and being the bad guy for now. Your kids will thank you for it when they've grown up. Hug
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02-01-2014, 05:13 PM
RE: Helping youngest child deal with divorce...
(02-01-2014 05:02 PM)Smercury44 Wrote:  Boy, this is really tough. I'm so glad you seem to have such a good handle on this, and that even though this guy seems he is not a good guy, that you don't want your kids to hear you say that. BRAVO!!

I'm an advice column junkie. One of the things I see come up a lot is what you are struggling with. Helping a child understand, and deal with a very adult situation. The advice I always see given, is that it's best to give them an age appropriate version of the truth. Trying to shield them from a difficult truth can make a scary situation even scarier, because they will create their own reasons in their mind. These can tend to be scarier than the reality of a situation.

It's really difficult here though, because a agree, the reasons for the divorce really can't be explained in detail, because I too think it's a good idea to let them find out for themselves if dad isn't a great guy. You're right, I'd bet your older daughter saw this coming. I'd imagine at her age it would be hard to miss this stuff. For your son, instead of telling him that your splitting because of adult stuff, and not to worry about it, I'd try saying something like "daddy and I disagreed on a lot of things, and sometimes we weren't very nice to each other because of this, and then we'd get mad at each other. We think we'll be happier, and be able to make you two happier in the long run if we don't live together anymore."

I really wish you all the best. That man worries me, and it sounds like he isn't planning on playing fair Confused it's going to be a long tough road,,but I really admire you sticking to your guns, and being the bad guy for now. Your kids will thank you for it when they've grown up. Hug

Aww, thanks. Hug Some good suggestions here, too.

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03-01-2014, 04:19 PM (This post was last modified: 03-01-2014 04:25 PM by Luminon.)
RE: Helping youngest child deal with divorce...
Divorce feels as if a civil war broke out in your country, as if Republicans and Democrats started killing each other.
Even if children understand that this is not their fault, it does not help much. They may ask why, but I don't think they really care, they want it to stop. Stop, or get it over with quickly and ASAP. Get some certainties, even economical. Economic crisis feels mild in comparison with a divorce of parents.

Yet "why" is important, I think. It is important to be very honest to children in terms they can understand, understanding of situation might give your younger son more strength to face the inevitable.
The problem with divorce is obvious - children grow up feeling betrayed, cautious, even extremely idealistic about marital fidelity, or things like that... Not a healthy example, obviously. If you could turn it into a positive or good lesson, that would be great. I wouldn't hesitate to read up some more internet articles on child psychology during divorce, to get into their shoes even better.

I'd be very suspicious that the husband buying gifts with money is trying to buy their feelings and win them over. This looks like a manipulation practice and I would not be surprised if he'd tried the same with other members of extended family.
The nastiest thing about a divorcing family is, that family is still tied together with bonds, only these bonds now carry lots of pain. A parent may love the child yet want to hurt the other spouse and he will hurt the child in the process without realizing that. Getting at the other parent through the child is perhaps even worse.

I can feel with you, in recent years my family went through something similar. Of course we're all adults (though my dad isn't always behaving like that) and most of us have jobs. If I never saw my dad anymore, I wouldn't mind. He's deluded in a new relationship with mistress, but he's happy and quite unapologetic.
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10-01-2014, 04:00 PM
RE: Helping youngest child deal with divorce...
What is wrong with your youngest spending a weekend or week with his father if that's who he wants to be with. You have turned this into a power trip. To hell with what the lawyer tells you, he's in it for money, not your child's best interests. It's time to get off the power trip. Get a mediator involved so you can work out an amicable arrangement with your husband. If you don't, your son will grow up hating you. He's too young to understand all you reasons. That's like trying to explain death to him. He just wants to be with his dad.
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05-02-2014, 01:38 PM
RE: Helping youngest child deal with divorce...
So I've got a bit of an update and a semi-rant.

The kids, it seems, are taking turns on which of them is having a harder time. One day it'll be the oldest and the next it'll be the youngest. But today my issue concerns both of them.

My ex has seen fit to divulge many more details to the children than I would feel comfortable telling them myself, but seeing as how I cannot control what he says, that just is what it is. But what I am getting is tons of advice from family and friends to go on and tell the kids my side of the story.

In the time between my last post and now, I have told the children a little bit about why me and their dad are no longer together. Namely that their dad has trouble telling the truth, and that when someone tells lies all the time, it becomes very difficult to believe anything they say. Even if they say they are going to change or do better or be different, you can't believe them because all they have done is lie.

The youngest seemed to understand this, though he told me that "Daddy says he isn't going to lie anymore," to which I said, "But daddy has trouble telling the truth, so I have a hard time believing that." The point is, even if I try to explain some things, to answer their many "Why?" questions, it doesn't seem to get us anywhere.

If I mention that their daddy went for a long time where he worked only sporadically, sometimes going months at a time without work while I was the breadwinner and also came home and kept the house up, tended the kids, etc. they will respond with "That's just past stuff, Momma - Dad is different now. He's working on it." And so it all just seems to be a waste of breath on my part. To the lying explanation, my oldest responded with, "Everyone lies sometimes," and "He only lies to people because he doesn't want to hurt their feelings with the truth," but to this latter response, you must understand that there were many, many lies my ex told that had nothing whatsoever to do with anyone's feelings. Take the time that he told his dad and step-mother that he'd sent me flowers for an anniversary or birthday (I cannot now recall which of those events it was) and so the next time we went to visit them, they asked me how I liked my flowers. I responded, "What flowers?" and then saw him flounder to try and explain it away. He said they (the florist) must not have sent them to me. But if they had, he would've known right away. Or at least, very shortly. He would've known, for instance, the approximate time they should have been delivered to my work and thus would've expected a phone call from me around that time, thanking him for the flowers. I always bring my flowers home, as well, so even if he'd written off the phone call (which would have been very uncharacteristic of me not to call and thank him for them) he would've known something was wrong when I didn't come out to the car with them. So it was all just... well, comical looking back at it, but frustrating when it happened. Because he made up things like that - trivial, inconsequential things - all the time.

I guess I just feel like, why tell my children anything if it is just going to come back on me like that? They're parroting back to me everything that he's filling their heads with. And they will likely believe him over me because it is absolutely the truth that he wants to work things out and I do not. So I'm the bad guy, in their view. He is the hero. You believe the hero over the bad guy. Which, like I've said if I have to be the fall guy in order to get myself and my children out of a situation with a lying and manipulative person, so be it. It sucks when they tell me they hate me or when I hear such words through the grapevine, but it is what it is.

But be honest with me, am I fooling myself into thinking that it would be a waste of time to talk to them in more depth, or should I go on and tell them more since he's doing the same thing? Only try not to vilify him?

I've also been told that counseling would be of use. I'm sure that's true, but it's just another bill on top of the many expenses I'll soon have when the kids and I are out on our own. If it will help, then I will try and do it.

Anyway, thoughts?

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05-02-2014, 04:59 PM
RE: Helping youngest child deal with divorce...
First, I think counseling could be invaluable. A therapist could really help you and your kids navigate this manipulation.

Man, that guy makes me so mad! I'm not event he one who was married to him! I think since he has been giving details to your kids, there's no issue answering the questions they have for you. It just really sucks, because he knows what the issues are (apparently), and he's filling your kids with all of his rebuttals. He is using them to try and manipulate you now, and that REALLY sucks!, I almost wish when they list his rebuttals, you could say "I know that's how it seems, and I'm really sorry your dad has gotten you involved in this, but it is between us. It isn't a problem that you two can fix. Your dad and I tried to for a long time, and this is where we ended up." I know that's not the best thing to say, which is why it'd be wonderful if you could go to a private session with a counselor, and then follow up with a a few sessions with you and the kids, and maybe a couple with them each on their own.

Hug
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05-02-2014, 05:29 PM
RE: Helping youngest child deal with divorce...
My ex and I split for several reasons; not the least of which were his infidelity and his inability to tell the truth. Our son was only 4 at the time, my girls didn't much care for him anyway so they didn't really care. I watched as the ex made and broke promise after promise to our son. I tried my best to ease those blows without covering for his dad. When my son would wait day after day waiting for something, I could only tell him that I didn't know why his dad wasn't doing what he said.

Lot of underhanded, devious stuff went on to include ex offering to 'sell' our son to me. He would give me full custody if I didn't ask for child support-ever. He offered the sale of his part of the shared custody on three different occasions. That along with other things made it really hard not to tell all to my son and/or to just have a screaming ranting fit about all the things that were happening. But, I knew my son would figure his father out on his own when he was old enough to. I didn't lie to my son, but I didn't tell all either. He was just too young to take on that kind of crap. Do your level best to not be the parent bad-mouthing the other one. I assure there were times I thought I bite my tongue off trying to stay quiet.

Counseling may be something that could start with an inquiry with the counselor at the school. They deal with these things a lot and may know of resources that are available in your area.

**At Christmastime during my son's senior year of high school he got a 'gift' from his father. He was told that he has a half-sister. And his father was going to attend her graduation but wouldn't make it to his. This sister is four months younger than my son...yeah, four months. My son got off the phone with his dad and came and told me and showed me picture of her that his father had sent on Myspace or something. We talked a few minutes and my son asked if I was mad that his dad had been cheating on me. I said no, I wasn't mad any more, but now I had proof. Something I had always lacked. As I figured, his father proved over and over who could and who could not be trusted between the two of us.
***Missing daddy reappeared right after I was diagnosed with cancer. He called my son and my son eventually laid the phone down on the counter and went out to the back yard to talk to my husband. When I got home he said, "Yeah, Rayce called. Guess he found out that you are sick and he figured he would worm his way back into my life after 15 years. He's such an obvious opportunist."

That said to tell you...be the best mom you can be. You can't control your ex. He will, and is, revealing himself to your kids. You won't need to help that process. Hold your head high and move forward.

I'm not anti-social. I'm pro-solitude. Sleepy
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06-02-2014, 07:54 AM
RE: Helping youngest child deal with divorce...
Escape, this is exactly why you two need a mediator. The mediator's first concern is the children and will try to help you and your ex get on the same page as to what's best for the children. Your children understand why they no longer have a certain friend. That's all they need to know, that you and your ex are no longer friends. Never ever share adult issues with your children because it frightens them. They don't have the skills to deal with them.
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06-02-2014, 08:05 AM
RE: Helping youngest child deal with divorce...
Don't put the kids in the middle of your arguments. Neither of you should be bad talking the other, especially in front of the kids. Apart from that, it just takes time for your children to adjust~and part of that adjustment means a predictable schedule. They should settle into a routine so they know what to expect from both you and their father. If he is supposed to get them on Friday and doesn't show up, that hits them hard. So, if part of their routine is talking to him on the phone, YOU will end up being the bad guy if you cut that line of communication. Be open and honest with them, but not to the point of telling them their father is a liar. It's ok to tell them that you think it will make everything happier and easier if you two live apart, but the details don't need to be shared with children. If you can maintain your respect for him in front of the children and he continues to talk bad about you to your children, therapy or a mediator could help. There are also tons of parenting classes available, some that even specialize in coping with divorce Smile

~Philosophy is questions that may never be answered. Religion is answers that may never be questioned.~
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06-02-2014, 09:01 AM
RE: Helping youngest child deal with divorce...
Thanks all for the input. It is just getting more and more difficult to stick with my plan of keeping as many details from the kids as I can, especially with so many of the adults surrounding me are telling me to go on and talk to them about all this stuff. I guess, the way they see it, it wouldn't do any harm for me to defend myself since he's making all these accusations.

But, these are people who are emotionally involved in the situation - namely my dad. I have a very soft spot for my dad and so I want to take his advice. He is urging me to talk, especially with my oldest - to just, give my view on things. But as Luminon said some time back, I really don't believe it matters so much to them why. They just wish it wasn't happening. So I think the best I can do is just try and help them adjust.

I wanted to make some things clear, as I am wondering if the situation (or, at least, some parts of it) are not being communicated properly from my end of things. The first week or so after I moved myself and the children away from my soon-to-be-ex, I was nervous about them being alone with him, same as I was afraid to be alone with him myself. This was due to his having erratic and unsettling behaviors whenever I would try and tell him that I wanted out. He would jump from one emotion to another with very little transition in between and honestly it scared me. I worried that he might do something that he would regret later, whether that be to hurt me or the children or hurt himself. And so when he reacted in much the same manner when we moved out, I of course was cautious.

Things are better now in that regard. They've gone to spend the weekend with him every other week now for a while. As well, he typically visits them one night during the school-week (the one exception to this was a week in which the weather was bad and he also did not have gas money to come out). We are communicating well and working well together as far as the arrangements for the kids go. For example, he had the kids last weekend because it was his weekend. They are going to stay with him again for this weekend as next weekend he will be out of town. I had no problem doing this "swap" - and so I do not feel I'm keeping the kids from him or trying to use them as pawns or anything like that. They talk to him whenever they want as they each have cell phones that my mother bought them, and I do not go into their phones to read their messages or anything like that. He and I do not argue in front of them. If we speak whenever the kids are being dropped off from or picked up for a weekend with him, then we do so in another room, away from the kids. There've been no raised voices, nothing of that sort.

The problem, as I see it, is that once he gets them alone, apparently he is spinning his tales for them, using them as his emotional support system. He is talking to them like he should be talking to friends. Telling them all that went wrong and how he would fix it if he could, etc. He told me at one point (this was just after I left, when emotions were still high) that the kids should be with him because he hates to be alone. And so it seems that I am, if not right-on, not totally off-base in believing that he is putting them in a position of being his emotional crutch and support. He needs to come to grips with the realization that they are his children, not his friends. He needs, as much as he is able, to be strong around them. Not tell them how he is up all night crying over me, etc. I just don't see how that could be good for them. Because it puts them in a position of a parent, trying to get he and I back together so it will "fix" his problem of being sad.

Anyway, maybe if I get the kids into counseling (I've been recommended to someone by a friend who also went through divorce) then the adults around me who are encouraging me to spill all will quieten down.

Thanks again. Hug

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