How to tell the kids that Daddy is moving out. - Talk About Marriage
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-07-2009, 03:41 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Colorado
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Question How to tell the kids that Daddy is moving out.

I told my husband last night (our 13th wedding anniversary) that I want to separate. He has issues ( you can see my other posts for details).

What I need to know now is best way to tell the kids (6 and 11).

I do hope that in the end things will work out.

We have set the date he will move out to May 1st.

Any advice is appreciated.

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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-07-2009, 03:53 PM
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Re: How to tell the kids that Daddy is moving out.

Last summer, when my husband and I were in serious talks about separating, we also were concerned about our son (age 7). We asked our therapist for advice on how to tell him. She consulted with a child therapist colleague and got back to us with this info:

Telling the kids before you move is really important. Kids need to know and need time to absorb and think about it, and be able to ask questions. She said don't just tell them and then immediately leave. Always always tell them that they are NOT the cause of mom and dad separating, and that you still love them as much as always. Kids should not witness the actual move-out.

If you're moving out May 1, I would tell the kids now, and be available to sit with them and answer questions. Reassure them constantly that you love them, spend extra time with them, and be prepared for odd behavior from them. Stress makes people do weird things, so they may act up at school, get depressed, etc. If hubby is moving out, then you take the kids out for the day that he moves his stuff so they don't see it.

And if you and hubby are still trying to work things out and and can be cordial, it was suggested to us that we do a family outing together with our son regularly (weekly, biweekly, whatever works best). Be sure whoever is moving out gets plenty of time with the kids alone, and access to the kids to talk on the phone whenever.

Good luck!
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-07-2009, 04:57 PM Thread Starter
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Re: How to tell the kids that Daddy is moving out.

Thank you.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-08-2009, 09:44 AM
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Re: How to tell the kids that Daddy is moving out.

This is a tough challenge and should be handled with care.

My own experience more than a decade ago led to my writing a guidebook for parents on how to create a storybook with family photos and history as a successful way to have the tough break-the-news conversation. Iím recognized as The Voice of Child-Centered Divorce and my new book is How Do I Tell the Kids about the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybookô Guide to Preparing Your Children -- With Love! What makes the book unique is that I donít just tell parents what to say. I provide customizable templates to say it for them!

Therapists, attorneys, mediators, educators and other professionals around the world have endorsed the book, attesting to the value of my fill-in-the-blanks, age-appropriate templates. Six therapists contribute their expertise to the book, as well. My goal is for divorcing couples to stop, talk and create a plan before having that crucial "divorce" talk with their children. I hope, for the sake of their kids, they will decide to move ahead in creating a child-centered divorce. For free articles, ezine and other valuable resources on this topic, visit Child-Centered Divorce.

Best wishes,
Rosalind Sedacca, CCT
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-09-2009, 01:23 PM
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Re: How to tell the kids that Daddy is moving out.

I was faced with this last October. It was certainly one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. Heartbreaking to say the least. I didn't want the separation/divorce but my ex made it clear this was the path she had chosen.

We handled it much like Leah suggested. Tell them in advance. Give them some time to think about it and ask questions. Look for how this affects them at home, school, with friends, etc. Let their teachers know and possibly the parents of their close friends. You may need help from these people in trying to figure out how the children are handling the situation.

Although it was very tough for me to do, my ex and I decided it was best to avoid telling our children whose decision this was. In short, my wife let me know she had been unhappy for years because too many things in my life came before her. For this she blamed me for the end of the marriage. I blamed my ex for not letting me know sooner and then not really giving me a chance to change once I understood her unhappiness. I also blamed her for wanting to end a 17 year relationship. Nonetheless, we decided to let our children know that the decision had been made to separate, that we both loved them and would see them often, and they had no part in contributing to the separation. We told them Mom and Dad had both made mistakes and left it at that. Granted, my children were 6 and 2. Your children are a little older and may press for more details. As parents you need to talk about how to handle some of the common questions such as why this is happening, who is a fault, where they will live, who will they stay with the most, will they have to move too, etc etc.

I don't wish this on anyone. Try and be strong when the time comes to break the news. I had a very hard time keeping it together. My 6 year old son immediately looked at me with tears in his eyes and just saide "Dad, why?" Tore my heart out. I wanted so badly to tell him it was his mother's choice, but I held my tongue. Some day I may let him know the details, but not yet. Be loving to your kids when you tell them but also try and be strong. They'll likely become emotional and will need both of you to lean on for comfort and support.

Best of luck to you in this.

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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-09-2009, 01:40 PM
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Re: How to tell the kids that Daddy is moving out.

when this has happened with my H and myself in the past and prob in the near future.
we have just sat down and said that mum and dad are not happy with eachother. ours are 8 and 11.
we also say to them and reassure them that we are always there for them and ask them if they want mum and dad to be happy.
or do they want us to feel sad around them and it makes them sad.

every situation that H and i have been in, well the scenarios do change.
sometimes we told the boys and sometimes we didnt , it wasnt appropriate all the time to go into detail of what happening.
all you can do is reassure and be there for them and take them out to keep their brains and ideas stimulated, so that they can learn that you can be better parents to them when your not together.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-09-2009, 07:20 PM Thread Starter
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Re: How to tell the kids that Daddy is moving out.

Originally Posted by blind View Post
In short, my wife let me know she had been unhappy for years because too many things in my life came before her. For this she blamed me for the end of the marriage. I blamed my ex for not letting me know sooner and then not really giving me a chance to change once I understood her unhappiness.

Dear Blind... do you think you put many things before your wife? If so did it take the separation for you to see it?

I am still hoping my marriage can have a happy ending which is why I ask. I feel a lot like you said your wife felt. I am giving my husband a chance to change but feel the only way is separation as we have gone through this way too many times in the past.

H: Neglectful, financially irresponsibly, alcoholic (but not a mean drunk)

He is a great Dad though and adores our kids. He says he loves me but never really shows it.

I work full time, pay all the bills, do most everything for the kids, cook dinner every night, clean ..... ( I could keep going)

In short, I just don't feel like he is pulling his weight in the relationship and he never saves any money and drinks every night. I am always the one having to use my salary for retirement, kids college, home improvements, vacation etc. He helps pay the regular bills but blows everything else. I also pay half the regular bills.

I think he feels like since I make more it is my job but he keeps $1600 a month from his paychecks.

Over the years I feel like I am his "sugar momma" and not his wife. He never compliments me anymore, we never go on dates and I never get a card or anything for no reason.

In short the romance is GONE.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-10-2009, 01:18 PM
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Re: How to tell the kids that Daddy is moving out.


Yes, there were some things that came before my wife. Primarily work and hobbies. I believe her perception and mine are different in this regard, but I do openly admit that I should have been more attentive to her needs and been there more often.

No, it didn't take separation for me to see it. Here is a link to my story: I'm losing my only love

To boil it all down, once I learned my wife was so unhappy that her love for me had died, my eyes became wide open. I was ignorant of her needs for far too long. Once I understood the situation I did all I could to change and save the marriage. I feel I did change and she and the kids became my primary focus. We lasted about a year from the time she let me know her love had died until she moved out (the dissolution papers had already been filed by this time). During the last year of our marriage I don't feel she made any real effort to save our relationship, home, and marriage. She went to marriage counseling once, became upset with the counselor, and would not agree to return to him or any other counselor. She became extremely withdrawn, separated herself from me in bed with pillows, would eat dinner with the kids early and before I got home from work, no affection or intimacy for a year, etc. etc. She seemed to go out of her way to avoid conversation with me and often wouldn't remain in the same room for any length of time. In the end, she blamed me for the years leading up to the demise of our marriage and I blamed her for not letting me know sooner how unhappy she was and for not trying in the end. She feels she did let me know in the past and this is probably true in part. Hence my user name, "blind".

I wish you the best. I hate to see a separation as I feel it often leads to divorce. Certainly there are exceptions and I don't mean to generalize. I'd suggest marriage counseling. He needs to understand the marriage is in grave danger, but I don't know that separation is the answer so long as your true desire is to have a happy and intact home.

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-26-2011, 06:34 PM
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Re: How to tell the kids that Daddy is moving out.


Thanks for posting. The parallels in our stories are striking.

I am almost in the exact same situation and about to have to let my five year old and early teen that I will have to move out. The part about what to actually tell them is the hardest. I don't want this, any of this. I want to try to work it out and have altered my entire approach to how I see/saw things. I have repeatedly made attempts to share this with her, and I believe I have done all I can in the past 10 months, and she only responds to any and all calls to get help with hostility and anger. Not even a separation, just divorce. I think she truly believes that if she rids herself of me, she'll be happy instantly, and unfortunately, has stated that the kids will be happier too.??.I cannot see how not seeing Daddy on a regular basis for tucking in, etc. can be a better deal. I believe it is up to the parents to be mature and deal with anger appropriately and not project that unhappiness on the kids...

Anyway, needed to share after I saw your post, albeit long ago. I hope you are doing well, and I know through my faith that I'll get through this, but the heartache, scratch that, the heart ripping I feel when I think about my life without my kids (daily), is sometimes unbearable.

Best wishes,
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-05-2011, 10:55 PM
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Re: How to tell the kids that Daddy is moving out.

Hi Blind,

Looks like you haven't been on this thread in a long time. Just wanted to say thank you for your perspective. I'm in a similar situation with my wife; only, the shoe's on the other foot. So your early writings regarding not knowing how to approach your wife were particularly helpful in giving me possible explanations why my wife hasn't done more to reconcile with me upon my telling her that I want to separate.

We have two small kids that I adore with all of who I am. They have been the biggest reason this event hasn't come sooner. I only realize now that I can't be the father that they deserve when I am in such terribly depressed state due to the soul killing relationship I have with my wife.

Anyway, you have a skilled pen, and I appreciate the time that you spent here.



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