Hello all. I am Onyx. I have two wonderful sons- 3 years and 6 weeks. Recently my H blindsiding me and asked for a divorce. As much as I want to work it out, he is set on it. My question is how do you explain a divorce to a 3 year old? We haven't even started talking to him yet but he has picked up on it; I'm assuming he heard us from his room when I thought he was sleeping. He came to me and asked where daddy was and I told him that daddy was just out for the moment. Then he started crying and said "I will never be happy again". Any advice is so appreciated because I'm all kinds of lost and heartbroken.
Post by sherminator on Dec 12, 2015 4:09:53 GMT -5
Things like Im never going to be happy again are heartbreaking. But not necessarily true sentiments- DS says that when I wont let him watch some more TV, so- while you are sad for the 3 yr old, I would recommend not putting too much stock in it. So, when you are lost, and kiddo is picking up on it he might say, Im so sad, I would acknowledge both his and your feelings, by saying something like, its ok to be sad, Im sad sometimes too- but also reassure him and give him ways to process grief. When I feel sad I ...X,Y,Z hug my stuffie, take a walk. If he starts missing absent Dad, say- lets put a picture up by your bed, write him a letter, send him a text, whatever acknowledges that feeling but gives him a way to move past. Make sure this is his initiative- not yours trying to reel him back in with child guilt. Sounds cold to say that, but your feelings and motivations are still raw at this point. Show kiddo a calendar and start familiarizing him a bit with- you will see daddy in X number of sleeps- and show him the days. Be matter of fact about changes- and try to prep him- you will stay with daddy tonight, and I will pick you up after school. There are some good books to help with this. I do not use divorce the term. and so on< I just say Daddy is living here. You will see him here, and here is where I live and you will stay with me on these days.
This is too new to know what specific tools you will need to get through. But if your husband is committed to being a father, it can be managed. Hugs to you Onyx- its hard to be clear headed and calm when you are on fire emotionally and raw. Start gathering forces now. Who in your life can be counted on to come take DS for a walk when you need to fall apart. Who can hold the baby while you shower. I was a single mom by choice, and recently partnered up, but for the first 4 1/2 years of the little man's life it was all me. It takes a village. You need to find your village, asap, as there is no one to run to the store for diapers if you are out, without waking the kids.
There are separate issues- the dissolving of your marriage. Your feelings - becoming a single parent and how to manage that. - how to best co- parent and help your children Try to tackle them separately, is my best advice - and rally your support. Not to badmouth dad, but to get your sh!t together. Hugs
Post by freezorburn on Mar 8, 2016 12:48:03 GMT -5
Hi, I usually just click straight through to the Single Parents board, so I didn't see this until recently when I was looking to see if there is much discussion going on for blended families. And then I typed a big answer but my computer crashed and I lost the whole thing. So needed to recover from that.
Single Parents tends to be quiet and slow, but there are a few of us checking it regularly so be assured if you post there that you will get a response.
I'm so sorry you're going through this -- and I hope you're finding ways to cope. My story is similar but started in Jan 2015, my STBX blindsided me with news of an affair and wanted divorce. DS was only 2.5 years old at the time. And then STBX spent much of last year in Outer Space taking a break from life and responsibilities. After a long time he started to show up regularly again to parent, and we have only begun our legal process in the last month.
Self care is super-important throughout all of this. Think about how they always say on an airplane, that you have to put on your own oxygen mask before helping the person next to you. Same thing here. Take care of yourself first so that you are able to take care of your kids.
As for talking to your 3yo, I think @sherminator had some good advice. I'll add some resources, which you may have already come across -- these haven't necessarily worked for DS since he also has ASD and can be picky about his reading material.
It's not your Fault, Koko Bear and Mom and Dad Glue are supposed to be good age-appropriate books.
Post by freezorburn on Mar 8, 2016 12:53:17 GMT -5
One more, which I'm just in the middle of but last week read the chapter on talking to your kids. I'm not ready to speak to this book as a whole, but so far I think she does a good job of talking about the emotions that many people tend to experience when a marriage breaks up, and she makes a good point that in talking to your kids, it's an ongoing conversation that you will have with them for many years. And I find her writing style to be very easy to read and digest, even if I don't always agree with her.
freezorburn,I * think* we might be only talking to ourselves, but I think you had great advice/great resources, for thanks for responding. In my situation, my SO is divorcing her kids mom, so anything that helps the tribe process whats happening is appreciated. Most of the stuff is for mom/dad situations, not mom/mom but I think most of it applies though I wouldn't choose that language, if I had my druthers. But thanks for adding your voice. I wish this was a more active area.
onyx, so sorry you're going through this. This happened to me about three years ago, my DD was 5 at the time. When we explained it to her, we said "mommy loves you and daddy loves you, but we don't love each other anymore. we're going to live in different houses, but we will both always love you and be there for you whenever you need us."
(My ex then moved out of state for 18 months...but that's another story in and of itself).
DD is about to turn 8 now and, for the most part, she's thriving. She barely remembers her dad and I even being together...but she does remember that daddy left her though, which has given rise to some issues now that he's been back in her life for the past 8 months. I also recently got engaged and she's eager to call my fiance "Dad" since he's been there for her more than her own father has been over the past 13 months...though we correct her and tell her that daddy will always be her dad, but that SO loves her and is happy he's going to be her stepfather. She's been through therapy, and we're about to start another cycle of therapy since she's having a really hard time adjusting to dad being back and having to split houses.
Your kids will have questions that will start to come up over the next few years, and they'll come up at sudden and surprising times. I remember shortly after DD turned six, we were goofing around and she was asking Siri silly questions...then out of nowhere she asks "Why did my mom and dad get divorced?" It was one of those situations where you have to read between the lines...she had that question and was uncomfortable asking me directly, but having Siri as a "mediator" helped her get it out. So we put the phone away and I just explained to her that sometimes adults disagree on something and can't get past it, no matter how hard they try, and decide they can't be together anymore.
DD is a great kid though. She's resilient. She's smart as a whip. She's thriving in school, has friends, our mother/daughter relationship is tight. It wasn't what I wanted for her, but it's still a wonderful life.
I'm not sure if any of this helps address the questions or concerns you have but I wish the best for you!
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