Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Telling Your Kids

I have a lot of stories to tell from my last three years of dealing with divorce. I'm feeling very compelled to share some of them. I'm not sure why. It's not in an effort to air any dirty laundry more so to provide comfort and knowledge to someone like me. There are so many books and websites to read regarding the befores, durings and afters of divorce but I might be able to share some very real, relevant every day stuff that could maybe help someone out.

This is one of them:

The absolute most difficult day of my divorce process was the day we decided to tell our kids we were separating. I hate that day. My nights were consumed with the thought of telling our kids we were splitting up. I read several books about children and divorce and read endless things online. These resources were a good launching point but no situation is the same as yours and of course no children are the same as yours. Write down what is in your heart. Chances are you know what you want to say. You know what your children are able to understand. I took notes, I didn't want to forget to say certain things. I didn't want to tell them too much or too little.

My stomach is in knots and I cry as I write this, three years later, because it was surely the most difficult conversation I have ever had. How do you justify a decision that will hurt the two people you love most in the world?

However, if divorce is where circumstance has lead you, this is a conversation you must have. It is also a conversation you must have over and over. You cannot possibly anticipate the reaction of your children. But you must talk, ask, answer and comfort over and over. This is not a conversation you can have once and then breathe easy that it is over. You must continue to bring up the divorce, the changes your children are experiencing, their worries, their sadness, their anger. These are all things that cannot be ignored no matter how difficult it may be to talk about.

Even if your children say that they are OK, continue to ask them questions about their feelings, worries, struggles. Ask, talk, reassure again and again. Make sure your ex is talking to them as well.

Three years later this is still a conversation I have with my children. As they grow and develop new questions and concerns come up. Different situations make them sad and mad. This divorce was not final and finished two years ago at the courthouse. It is an evolving event that will need to be dealt with for the rest of their lives. I do my best to make sure they feel secure and loved always.

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