L.H. asks from Colorado Springs, CO on February 07, 2009
How Do I Make a Separation/divorce Easier on My Child?
My husband and I have been having problems for approximately 2 1/2 years. I have desperately tried to make things work out for the sake of my daughter but have now gotten to the point where I need to just end my marriage. My husband is a good father and I have every intention of sharing custody with him equally, even though I want to be with my daughter every day. She's very close to her father and this will be an upset, to say the least. She is more of a Mommy's baby and everything is "Mommy do" including all of the bedtime routine. How do I make it easier on her? Especially since she's going to have to get used to be away from Mommy a few nights a week?
1 mom found this helpful
J.M. answers from Denver on February 08, 2009
We live in a disposable world where marriage is also disposable. There is nothing you can do to make a divorce situation "ok" for a child. If the decision that you and your husband make is to divorce then it is about you. This is not the best decision for the child so don't try to justify it. Unless you are in an abusive situation you need to keep trying. Love is not a feeling, it is a committment and its hard and it takes work. Don't ask for it to be easy, ask for it to be worth it. Your childs needs should come first, its her emotional security and happiness that is at stake.
I would challenge you and your husband to call a truce for an evening and watch the movie, "Fireproof." There is a 40 day challenge you can do to try to turn things around. Please don't make a decision before then. The movie will stir some raw emotions and you may need to watch it with a couple you trust, who knows what is going on.
I have been down this road, made a decision that seemed best for me but certainly has caused long term issues for both of my daughters. I was selfish in my decision and justified it because I really thought I was going to die if I stayed with him. He has sinced turned his life around and we could have worked things out.
The cost for children is too great. Good luck and you and your family will be in my prayers.
2 moms found this helpful
R.M. answers from Denver on February 08, 2009
The first thing that you tell her is that mommy and daddy love her no matter what. Also: let her know that you still love each other too.
I would say the first thing that i would do is have her try spending the whole day then offering her to spend the night. As she gets older and is with him more( without mommy ) then she will definatly want to be with daddy all night long. Let her tell you hoe she feels about things without trying to solve it,just listening.
Good luck and god bless
E.G. answers from Denver on February 08, 2009
Unfortunatly, you can not make a separation/divorce easier for a child. You and your husband if you do separate/divorce just need to remember not to talk badly about each other or talk about any problems to her. A lot of adults forget that the child does not care what daddy or mommy did wrong, they sometimes think it's their fault even if you tell them its not. But again there is no way even if others that have divorced say there is, to make it easier on a child. The child will feel they are losing one if not both the parents at some point. Sorry I know that is not what anyone wants to hear but the child always gets hurt some how even if you do everything to make sure its easy on them.
A.S. answers from Denver on February 08, 2009
I'm sorry this is a decision you have to make. I just want to tell you that even though kids always appear to 'get over it' and will put on their best face on for you, its what they do, they never 'get over it'. My parents divorced when I was 5 and I spent several years trying to get my family back together again. I, too, shuttled back and forth between homes and had two wardrobes, two rooms to call my own, two sets of toys. I did not however, have a home that was mine. I had two homes where I was a part time resident. Its is devastating for a child, especially as an only...they have no one else.
I don't know what to tell you to alleviate the pain. Being considerate of her feelings. Fighting for full custody so she doesn't have to be shuttled. It will hurt for her, you and your soon to be ex. Pay for good counseling. GL.
S.B. answers from Denver on February 07, 2009
the most important thing is to set up family rituals. whenever you two do separate and set up visitation, make a plan for the visits. Pack a bag with a favorite toy and picture of the two of you. sing a special song together and remind her that you will speak to her every night as part of her bedtime routine, or whatever time you and your ex work out. make a plan for when she returns to you = like always have her favorite foods and watch her favorite movie or play her favorite game. By having these special rituals that she can rehearse over and over, she will learn that you will be there for her and she can count on that. Because she is only 4 keep the routines very short and specific. Having pictures of you at his house and him at your house in her room will help her keep it together during the visits. Keep clothes and toys at both houses so she's not lugging suitcases around if at all possible. Keep disruption for her at a minumum. Consult a psychologist if you feel you need more help or if she's reacting badly to the separation.
V.F. answers from Cheyenne on February 08, 2009
Some of the advice you have received already is wonderful. I just want to say coming from a broken family...keep your routine. She will definitely need that stability because even if you are ready for the separation your emotions will be crazy once it happens. Another thing is try not to talk negative about your ex in front of your daughter, especially since he will still be in her life. Things will work so much better if she can appreciate both of you even though she can't have you together. Sorry to hear that it had to end but hope things go better for you. Oh, one last thing...don't make your daughter your best friend...find a girlfriend that you can share your problems with. My mother tried doing this to me and until I got older I didn't realize how disturbing it was...plus it made me hate my father. Anyway, best of luck.
J.R. answers from Denver on February 08, 2009
I'm sorry to hear that you're going through this. Unfortunatly no matter what happens its still exteremly difficult on the children and try to remember even though she is only 4 she knows something is going on, so don't think that shes too young to know whats happening. Being passed back in fourth between two parents and two homes is extremly difficult for a child, so here is my suggestion and for this to work it will take both you and your husband to get over what ever issues you have with one another to make this easier for your daughter. I suggest that he moves out of the house and you remain living there with your daughter while he lives in an apartment or another home and when it's his week to get his daughter he comes back to the house that your living in and stays there with her while you leave and go stay at his apartment or house. It may not be working between you adn your husband and you guys want the divorce not your daughter, so don't make it difficult on her by having her go back in fourth between two homes you and your husband should switch back in fourth that way she can still have as much stability as possible. I hope this helps and I'm sorry to hear what your going through.
K.M. answers from Billings on February 08, 2009
Have you heard of the book, "staying together for the sake of the kids?" It's a how-to, and why. I have three kids, who love their dad.
You mentioned that he is a good father... Please don't buy the lie that getting out will bring you joy. Research shows that people who stayed the course through marriage troubles are happier 5 years later than those who didn't. I've got many examples of that in my own family. Keep up the hope... there's a reason you chose that man... your marriage to him will cause you to grow spiritually if you will let it, and your willingness to embrace your own spiritual growth is the best gift you can give your daughter. Don't give up now!!
http://www.marriageuncensored.com/Assets/Flash/Season5/Sh... (this is a link to a Canadian video on marriage that a friend of mine found very helpful)
Peace, courage, and light to you!