View Full Version : How to make a breakup "easier" on a nearly-5 yr old?
So things are deteriorating very quickly in my marriage. We've split up before, just after Vallerie's 2nd birthday, and it wasn't too hard on her then because she was so young. But she'll be 5 next month. And she can remember when it was just me and her in our little flat, and she can remember when mummy and daddy got back together. She is already badly affected by our fighting, she's always telling me "When Daddy gets angry at you and you get sad, I will make you feel better" which just breaks my heart, because she shouldn't have to be aware of this kind of stuff.
Anyway. without venting and b*tching about my marriage too much, I just want some advice from other single parents who've had to leave their spouse with a similar age child. She's starting school next term, at the end of July. She's just gotten a baby brother. She doesn't deserve so much upheaval. But it looks inevitable, it's been coming for a while and if I hadn't gotten pregnant again, we wouldn't be together now because I would have left him again months ago.
So how do I lessen the bad effects on Vallerie? How do I make sure that she doesn't blame herself or feel too sad?
i'm not coming from a place where i have done this but i have watched a few couples go through this recently and would like to give you my 2 cent's worth! I also come from a no-dad background.
first - congratulations - remember you are doing this so you can be a better mother, one who isn't stressed and traumatised by a relationship going bad. one who is showing her children that in life we have to be strong and make hard decisions.
i don't know the details of your situation but the best advice i can give you is to be honest. answer her questions and give her lots of reassurance. she knows you are fighting and that both you and your partner are suffering. hopefully she will still be seeing daddy after all this so telling her that though it's better for you and not to live together he'll always be her daddy and love her lots. try not to speak too negatively of him or to give her in-depth info on the nitty-gritty - she doesn't need to know that he (insert random ghastly event), just that sometimes grown-ups need to not live together so that they can be happier. make sure she knows it's about the grown-ups and there was nothing she did or didn't do that could make it any different and encourage her to embrace change as an adventure, not as a bad thing.
it's such a hard time for all of you - good luck :hugs:
What a horrible situation for you :hugs:
My parents split when I was about 5 or 6 and the best thing my mum did was talk to me about all of it (as appropriate, eg. when we were moving, it was no-ones fault, sometimes people love each other but can't live with each other etc). I think the best way to help Vallerie is by talking to her, letting her know that she is not to blame (but neither are you or her dad) and listening to her if she wants to talk about whats going on. Don't hide things from her or not talk about things because you think she is too young to understand, if she brings it up then tell her about it (as far as she can understand it, I suppose, age appropriate :confused: is a good term).
She seems like a pretty switched on kid and with open lines of communication may just handle it better than you can imagine.
:hugs: :hugs: Queenie, you will be in my thoughts, this is such a hard thing to go through (for all of you).
I am really sorry to hear it has come to this, and i am sending big :hugs: and :kiss: your way...
i dont know if this will be of any help, but when i was 7 my parents split and i remember it crystal clear, but it was also quite a nice time.
First of all, they called all three of us (me and my two sisters) into the kitchen and announced that mummy and daddy no longer loved each other and were divorcing, and it still meant they loved us very much and all three of us has a choice of who we wanted to live with. My mum was the one who left, and my older sister (9) chose to go with my mum, and me and my younger sister chose to stay in the house with dad.
They then gave us presents, i was given a charm bracelet from my mum which i had always wanted from her, and dad gave all three of us a necklace. We then went for a walk along the beach and talked about it.
My parents never fought in front of us, and still spoke for the first 2 or so years, but now they hate each other and we understand that.. to this day tho i still dont know why they split...
I hope everything goes well for you, i am sure all your children will receive all the love they will ever need from you, and thats the main thing.
Oh queen, good luck. My parents split when I was 10 and I am still battle-scarred by it, so maybe pointing out what damaged me the most will help Vallerie.
My Dad was GONE. He went overseas and he didn't come back for ages. About two months or something, which is ages in a 10 year old's life.
I felt very unloved and abandoned and I "knew" it was my fault. People told me it wasn't the case and I was a bright little girl who knew that things like that happened with OTHER people and it wasn't OTHER people's fault, but somehow OUR situation was different and it WAS actually my fault and people just presumed it wasn't because it NORMALLY isn't.
I would say to try and keep things as much the same as you can for Vallerie. If you can stay in the same house and if she can keep her same bedroom it would be a big help. Nothing should change unless its really really necessary and then not all at once.
If IH moves out rather than you it would be a big help, and he needs to step up to the plate in regards to seeing Vallerie. Curtis doesn't need him yet, but Vallerie does. Her relationship with her father is the blueprint for her relationships with her partner when she grows up. She needs to know he is not leaving HER, and TELLING her this will do nothing if what she SEES isn't compatible. What she sees for herself will win but its impossible to know what she is actually taking in.
But the other thing you need to take into account is that this separation coincides with the arrival of Curtis...so think like a 5 year old. New brother= Daddy gone. So this needs to be addressed as well.
I would definitely DEFINITELY suggest some counselling for Vallerie so you can gauge exactly what is going on in her mind so you can address these things without trying to guess. You're her mum so you know her best, but she might not tell you everything because she wants to protect you.
Queen, You sound like a great mum!!!
I am not going to lie to you, it will be hard, my five year old was 41/2 when my partner (the only father he had only known but not his biological one) and I split. He was devestated, and was bad when he saw me crying. I think the best thing to do is talk talk talk, be open with your emotions and let your daughter talk about it and let her tell you how she is feeling without thinking that you have to make it all better, I felt with my son, if I just listened to him and say I know darling and I know you feel sad, and I will be there for you forever. It made it a bit easier. I guess fighting with your hubby now is awful for her, so she will definately feel the ease if that stops when/or if you split. Time does heel though.
My son still talks about him all the time and its been a year but I just listen and smile and say thats great that you remember all those great times and we will have some more great times with each other and your new little sister.
I hope this helps. Please if you need to talk I am here for you.
Be open and honest with her (about exactly what is going on), this is something I wish my parent's had done with us when they split up.
Kids are alot more aware of what is going on that what we give them credit for.
I'm here if you need someone to talk to or pm and this is just for you :hugs: and a :kiss:
Thanks you guys.
Wonderful advice from you all, I will definitely keep the lines of communication open with Vallerie and make sure that I keep it age-appropriate.
Youse are all so lovely, thank you for your advice and kind words.
Shed, I hadn't thought of getting counseling for Vallerie but I think it's probably a good idea. I'm going to get in touch with my old social worker, see if she can organise something.
I really appreciate all your support, I'm glad to have it. I'm sure everything will eventually work out OK but I'm mostly worried about how Vallerie will deal with it all. So thank you THANK YOU for your advice, it's invaluable :kiss:
No advice Queenie but just wanted to send big :hugs:
Your a great Mum and your doing a good thing by not bringing your kids up in a destructive environment
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