Divorce is a very difficult thing for everyone involved. It is especially difficult when there are children involved. You have to make the decision when you should tell your child or children. There will be many emotions all around, there is no avoiding it. The best course of action is to be as honest as possible. If Daddy left because he found someone else to love then you tell them that. Let your child know that there are many different kinds of love. Tell them that Mommy and Daddy will always love them no matter where they are. The love between parent and child is forever. Then try to explain that love between a man and a woman is different and sometimes people fall out of love with each other and decide that it would be better to live apart.
It’s important that they know that it’s not their fault. They may feel like it’s their fault, but they may also blame you. It is very common that a child will think that you did something to drive their Daddy away and they will blame you for that. Try to be strong when this happens, because it will happen. Explain that this is about Mommy and Daddy not wanting to live together anymore, but that it’s no one’s fault. This part may be difficult, especially if there was some infidelity going on, but a child does not need to know those details at a young age. You want your child to have a relationship with their father so you have to take the high road and not say bad things about your spouse. This is not about you getting revenge. This is about explaining a difficult situation to your child.
Let your child know that there will be a lot of changes due to Daddy leaving, but you will help them through the changes. You may not know at this point what the custody arrangements will be, but if you do let them know what you know. You don’t want them to have to choose sides. A child needs both parents.
If Daddy left and you don’t know why this may be a much more difficult question to answer. Tell your child that Daddy needed to go away for a while and take a break. Assure your child that everything will be okay. You may need to be both Daddy and Mommy for a while.
Children will want to know why this is happening to them and what it means to them. They may want to know where they will go to school or if this means they will have to move away from their friends. You need to answer these questions to the best of your ability. You and your husband may not even know what you are going to do yet, but give them the best idea. On average, more times than not, the children will stay with the mother. If Daddy is leaving then it’s a pretty good bet that Mommy will be staying in the family home with the kids. At least for the time being you can let them know that they will continue going to the same school and living in the same house. This stability will help them with the upcoming divorce. Try to reduce the amount of upheaval in their lives at the same time. It’s a big deal when Daddy moves out. Try to stay calm and neutral when explaining that Mommy and Daddy are going to live apart for a while. This is especially important if the decision to divorce is not for sure yet.
Most important points are to present a united front when explaining why Daddy is leaving. If this is not possible because Daddy already left just explain that Daddy and Mommy need to live a part for a while and assure them that everything is going to be okay. Make sure they know that both Mommy and Daddy love them no matter what happens. Assure them that none of this is their fault. Things happen and situations arise that make it impossible to live together. It’s better to be apart if there is a lot of yelling and verbal and physical abuse going on. The kids may already be expecting something like this depending on how old they are. Children are very intuitive and can tell that something is not right. Be honest and up front with them because they will figure things out in the end anyway and then they will resent you for lying to them.
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