I grieved at the thought of telling my children that we were getting a divorce. I knew this would rock their little worlds. Forever change their story. I stayed in a destructive marriage for many more years than I should have, primarily because I didn’t want to turn their world totally upside-down. It hurt this mama’s heart.
But what they were seeing and the way we were living was destructive to them, too.
I was dying a slow and painful emotional death and was becoming a shell of a person. I was having to deny the abuse that was taking place just to cope and get through the day. I numbed every part of my heart. It was too painful otherwise. They were seeing all this, as well as the angry, disrespectful, and manipulative way that my spouse treated me. They would think this was a normal way for a man to treat a woman, and would likely repeat the pattern.
When I decided to divorce my abusive and narcissistic X2B, I went to an adolescent counseling center and got some advice on how to tell the kids we were divorcing. Here were their general suggestions: Continue reading
Guest blogger Dr. Mary Ann Shaw is a child expert who has written two books, Helping Your Child Survive Divorce and Your Anxious Child. I’m grateful for her contribution to this blog.
Helping a Child Survive Divorce
“Helping a child survive divorce” is a misnomer to begin with. Children do not “survive” divorce as it is an on-going event. Divorce starts when children are usually young. They have a life-time of dealing with the divorce off and on through different stages they go through. While the stigma of divorce may not be in the forefront, it is there. Ways to handle divorce largely depend on the child or children. Honesty without information is the best policy.
“We as parents are going through changes in our feelings for each other. We have talked about moving apart from each other.” Now comes the tricky part. How do you convince the child or children that one is not moving away from them, physically and emotionally? The younger the child, the harder it is for them to understand closeness when not physically close. This is when you search for a parallel situation for explanation. You can use the concept of loving feelings for grandparents even though they don’t live with you. Best friends are loved but not living with you. It is important that this concept is made. A fault a lot of separating parents make is going into how situations really won’t change.