28 November 2012
One of the Worst Parts About Getting a Divorce: Telling Children
Telling people about the divorce was excruciating.
Even after it was not 'new' news to me, it was still sad to tell people who were hearing it for the first time. A year later, some people still hadn't heard the news. Perhaps they were old friends returning to Brooklyn for a visit. And then I'd have to tell them. It was sad every time.
But nothing compared to telling children about the divorce.
Nothing broke my heart more throughout the entire thing.
We had some nieces and nephews. We also had close relationships with many of the youth in Brooklyn - mainly through church. And we knew my boss's sweet children very well, too. I hated telling them all.
Soon after the divorce, I went to St. Barth's with my boss and his family (and several other families). My ex-husband normally would accompany me on those annual trips and he knew all the children very well. But this time, it was just me. One of the little girls said to me, "Mara, I know I'm not supposed to ask you something....but is it ok if I still ask you? Is it true that you broke up? I heard that you broke up. It just can't be true and I don't believe it, so I had to ask you." She was the saddest, sweetest, most compassionate little 5-year old ever as she asked me this question.
I told her that it was true. But that I was doing really well and that I was still really happy and that I was going to carry on and still have a good and happy life. I told her that my husband just wanted to live a different life now and that he would be ok, too. I had a tear in my eye to see her so sad.
The youth in Brooklyn that we knew were teenagers. They looked up to us a lot - and I hated having them see a divorce so first hand when kids need as many good examples of marriage as they can get. But I decided that I would do everything I could to still show them that marriage and living a good life were as important as ever to me. They heard me often talking about how much I valued marriage and how important it was to be a good spouse. And they were very much on my mind as I moved forward and decided how I was going to live my life. I wanted to make it up to them in any way that I could.
Have you ever had to explain a divorce to a child? How did you do it? Do you have any tips for others? xo
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