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What to tell the kids
November 30, 2010 4:29pm

The Tulsa World has one of those 'ask Abby' type column.  This one caught my eye, and I felt it had a very good message. 

Dad wonders when to disclose details of divorce     By Ask Amy

Published:  Tulsa World

 11/24/2010                                                                                                                                           

 

Dear Amy:  My
6-year-old daughter recently asked me why her mother and I divorced. I didn't
know what to tell her. The truth is that my ex-wife left me for another man
whom my daughter has grown quite fond of. While I was incredibly hurt by how
the marriage ended, I do not want to be responsible for introducing issues
between my daughter and her mother (or the other man).I ended up saying that
she should talk to her mother about it. While that satisfied her for the
moment, I know the question is bound to come up again. Should I have just told
her the truth? If not now, would there ever be a time when she should hear why
her mother and I really split? I have always been honest with my daughter and
try to answer all her questions. I am disappointed in myself for copping out
and would hate for her to think she can't come to me for a real answer to her
most serious questions.  - 
Devoted Dad

Dear Dad:  I agree with you that you should
always tell your daughter the truth. Your
job is to be honest but also to protect your daughter's other
relationships  -  as well as you can.
At age 6, she is
too young to learn that her mother left you. You should discuss this with your
ex-wife. You and she should agree that you
want your daughter to emerge from any conversation with either of you feeling
positive about her own life and secure about her changed family. 
Don't wait for your daughter to bring
this up again. You can say to her, "Remember when you asked me about
divorce? I didn't really know what to say, but I've thought about it and I want
you to know that Mommy and I loved each other very much and will always love
you."We decided we couldn't be
married anymore. None of this was your fault. The divorce made me sad,
but
I feel like things worked out OK for us and I don't feel so sad anymore."

(emphasis added by me)

 

Posted by Barbara Bartlett
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