When to tell our 8 year old that we are separating

Hi all. New to this whole process and need a little advice. My husband of almost 16 years and I are going to be separating. My family has known for a couple of months, but he just told his family this past weekend because we were planning to go visit them in two weeks and originally thought that in-person would be better. Both families do know now, but we can’t actually physically separate for probably another couple of months or more because neither of us can afford to go anywhere else until we sell this house, and this house needs quite a bit of fixing up before we can sell it.

Anyway, all that being said, our son does not know yet. Because we’re going to be living here together for 2-3 or more months until we can sell the house, we thought it best not to tell him yet and have him be confused as to why we’re still living together as a family. But his father and I have not been affectionate in a long time and I wonder how long before our son notices. Also, we have to start clearing things out and packing things up. So far we’ve told him we’re just decluttering, but sooner or later he’s going to figure out something is up.

I’m just curious what your opinions are as to when (and how) to tell him.

Thanks all

Well it’s been a long time since you posted this, how did it go?

I am in the same situation, but my child is half the age of yours. I have told my child that “this house is too big and expensive so we are going to let someone else buy it” kind of thing. I’ve begun packing up toys, clearing bookshelves kind of thing. We are getting it ready to place it on the market and he knows people will be coming to see the house and it needs to be toy-free for the most part. :wink:

His dad sleeps elsewhere, but is still at the house every day. At his age, we don’t plan on saying anything about separation and divorce. He will learn this as he gets older. I don’t want him to think at his young age that Mommy and Daddy can one day stop loving him. We are working on the “we need 2 houses” and he’ll have “2 special rooms” now angle.

Did you wait until it was officially moving day to tell your 8 yr old? Or did you have to tell sooner? Was he upset that the “decluttering” was actually packing to move or did he put that all together? Did you make sure to tell him it wasn’t his fault?

Hope it worked out for you.

Hello out there in divorce land. Its 22 Jan 12. I am not trying to be critical about your relationship but want make sure your child is kept from as much emotional harm as possible.

  1. I want you two to realize that your child is now going to be another statistic. Will not know of what if feels like to be raised up by two loving parents who are creating and raising a family instead of tearing one apart. You are just victomizing your child along with yourselves.

  2. Sorry for the rant. But here is what I can offer. GET HELP. Get God in your heart and lives. Go to a church (you dont have to be a member of) and attend a marriage class. GO to marriage retreat. Go the the website calle “A weekend to remember” there are several events in NC to choose from.

  3. Try the above and try not to fail your child. But in the event you do fail your child. Again there are many churches in NC that hold divorce care classes for adults. My churhc in Mooresville NC cunducts a divorce care for kids class. This is no excuse but a program the will help children to understand and eliviate the pain.

  4. FINAL ANSWER. If the D is going to happen anyway. Do it together and all for the child to give you all the question that he/she can. I suggest that you have all the answers ahead of time when he talks of where to stay, who will he be with, school, friends, church etc etc. These question go long above the fact that you (both parents) will tell the child the you love them no matter what. Guess what. The reality is that you DONT love your child unconditionally. Your separation is putting conditions on your love for the child. If you truly had unconditional love in your heart then you would truly do ALLLLLLLLL you can to keep the love within your family and not destroy it…

Final remark. The Lord rebuilds broken families and the devil destroys them. Have a blessed day.

Wow, dovex3, was that reply meant to encourage all of us to not divorce? I’m glad you know every single issue about our marriages and you know our spouses intimately. /sarcasm

I have God in my life. I belong to a church. I have been to a marriage retreat. I have a counselor. I am in a support group. I initiated marriage counseling 3 times. Since I have done the above, you are suggesting that I have failed my child because I am getting divorced? Nice judgement on your part.

I am insulted by your statement that I (we) don’t love our child/ren unconditionally because as parents we are separating. The love we feel for a child doesn’t come to an end…ever. The love between parents has NOTHING to do with the love for a child.

God has plans to prosper us and not harm us.

Final remark: Your words are harmful. This forum is for support, not for rebuking.

I too have made the hard decision to separate, and I stayed for years longer than I should have, just to give the kids the stability of a two parent household. And yes, dovex3, we did the counseling, therapy, etc etc… church based at that. After 4 months of therapy the pastor essentially gave up, as my ex was unwilling to modify her behavior in the slightest way whatsoever.

There comes a point when you actually can do more emotional harm to your children by staying in a destructive relationship than you can by separating. At least this way, the time I spend with my kids is quality time, comforting and nuturing and not fighting every few days with my ex, so they grow up thinking thats what “normal” is.

Dovex3, you do manage to offer (believe it or not) one piece of advice, at the end of your diatribe, that I totally agree with though…“have all the answers ahead of time when he talks of where to stay, who will he be with, school, friends, church etc etc. These question go long above the fact that you (both parents) will tell the child the you love them no matter what.”

Children are full of questions, and divorce is an upsetting time as it is, so do all you can to have what answers you can anticipate in place, so that he doesn’t realize you are quite likely just as confused and scared as he is.

You and your partner aren’t the only ones in the equation if your relationship breaks up – there’s also your child to consider. How can you make it easier for them? If this thing happen assure your children that they did nothing to cause the separation. Also, tell them that you are trying to work the problems. Assure them that, no matter what happens with the marriage, you both will always love them and will continue to be active in your daily activities.Above all, show respect to each other, don’t say any negative things about each other in front of your children. The best thing here, tell your children that you really love them and you will do your very best to take care of them.

I need to get to bed.