3 Things To Tell Your Kids When Divorce Happens

 

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My daughter and I pulled up to our extended family’s home to spend some time.

We were in a great mood to be around family and create more great memories.

Then she asked, When did you get divorced?

It took me by surprise and since I hadn’t thought about it in such a long time, I had to think about it and, wow, do the math myself.

Aloud I counted the years we were married before we separated.

Married in ’97, and separated 6 years after when she was 3 in ’03. I won’t go into detail about why but know that it wasn’t a frivolous decision.

Understand that I took the time, for the first time, to tell her the entire story.

There are some times when a conversation needs to be had no matter what else is going on. This was one of those times.

When it’s time to discuss those major details, don’t keep putting it off.

I chose not to silence her questions and we sat in the car in front of my family’s house and created a new bond.

Back to our conversation…

My ex-husband and I did well with co-parenting at that point. It was fine until his life “re-started”. I will just leave it at that.

I chose to go into detail about the entire situation and with months and years it occurred. Several times I encouraged her to chat with her dad if there were any other questions to make sure she receives both recollections. 

I believe it is only fair that everyone involved has their say. Perception is everything.

The more details I gave, the most surprised she looked. She had no idea and she stated that. For every situation we endured, I would tell her the beginning and the end of its occurrence.

From the time I was on bedrest when pregnant with our son and lost our apartment to the moment we watched our car be repossessed right outside of a family member’s home. 

We lived with them for a year when we had to relocate to another state, altogether.

I still reminded my children that we would be okay. Things could be (and were) replaced.

There is where I began to really make some intentional changes in the life of my children and our little family, as a whole. I let her know that I was determined to create a life for my children that not only I, but she could be proud of too. *fingers crossed*

My parents and family blessed us so much during this transition. Having this talk allowed me to once again, be grateful.

Photo by Rodnae Productions/Pexels

The 3 things I learned during that conversation:

    • Children (even or especially your young adult children) deserve to know about some of your life situations. Especially when those choices or lessons affect them directly. Hell yeah, they deserve answers when they ask.

    • Even with the most challenging decisions that I had to make as a single mother, keeping an open path for communication created a positive space. 

My daughter had a mental version of why we divorced and why I seemed to lose everything afterward. She saw how I just kept moving without offering negative words to her father. Of course, I knew this was just the best way.

    • The choices I made panned out. I was not blamed for the major changes that took place in our lives. I always wanted my kids to know that I did the best with what was dealt and I pulled it together and created my life while stopping allowing circumstances to drag me around.

Conclusion

The conversation was about 20 minutes and we both seem to be okay afterward. I am proud that my daughter was ready to know more and happy that I didn’t choke as all of this was sprung on me.

I actually carried an inner smile feeling the maturity of us both as we navigated our words, memories, understanding, and empathy of what affected us all on some level.

Tiffany Jasper
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