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Thread: Separation: Did Any Kids Take It In Their Stride?

  1. #1

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    Default Separation: Did Any Kids Take It In Their Stride?

    DP (should actually be XDP) is looking for a house so will be living here for a few months until he finds somewhere.

    DD1 (aged 5) has just started school and I was dreading telling her. DP told her (whole other story) on his own which I wasn't happy about but he said all the right things so I can't be too cross about it. I had a chat with her the following morning and she seems to have totally taken it in her stride.



    We have both explained that: dad will still live close by (in the same town), she will see him every day either before school or after school, she will have sleepovers at dad's house on the weekends but will sleep at mum's house every school night and every few weeks she will spend the whole weekend at dad's.

    Her response both times has been, "I like that idea."

    Yesterday, I thought I would further test the waters and we drove past a few houses that are for sale and I asked her what she thought of them. She was very excited and pointed out the one that she liked best.

    Am I deluding myself that this may not be as traumatic for her as I thought or have other kids taken it in their stride? She even yelled out to a friend in Coles yesterday, "my daddy's moving out". Bit embarrassing but she was very cheery about it.

    Haven't told DD2 (aged 2) just yet as I don't think she will necessarily understand the abstract concept of dad moving somewhere else but I'm planning on explaining more when we've found somewhere for DP to live.

  2. #2

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    I have no experience, but maybe at the moment it seems a bit like an adventure and she is excited at the prospect of two houses? I would imagine it will become more real once the move has actually taken place. It sounds like you living close to each other and both being able to see the kids each day will make it easier though.

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    That sounds great Fionas. It sounds like she is off to a great start to realising that two homes don't mean she is loved any less, and I think a lot of that would have come from the fact that is has been presented to her in a calm rational way with you both having already sorted out the details - obviously with her welfare in mind. I think just roll with it, staying positive as to the good things this will mean for her. She may come to have different feelings about it later but I think deal with it then, to avoid unconsciously putting your own feelings and perceptions onto her.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chody47 View Post
    I have no experience, but maybe at the moment it seems a bit like an adventure and she is excited at the prospect of two houses? I would imagine it will become more real once the move has actually taken place
    This is what I was going to post too!

    My kids (well DD's) thought it was great fun having two homes... Until the novelty wore off. 2 years on, all 3 struggle with the concept of going between homes. We have a few problems we are still working out. They at least now understand Xdh and I will never be back together and both are remarrying new partners.

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    I hope for you it stays that way

    My boys are better some days that others.
    My 7yo (was 6 at the time) had some issues at the beginning due to the way FWXH mishandled it, and to some degree continues to.
    His school has an excellent group counselling program for kids with family stuff going on, and we found that to be amazing for him over the past year.
    My 3yo doesnt really get it as much, and TBH, things werent so good before, so its probably a far better situation than what he had before.

    Their dads partner has just moved in. She seems nice and they seem to like her, but its thrown out both of their behaviour while they get used to it.

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    Default Re: Separation: Did Any Kids Take It In Their Stride?

    I too think once it happens is when reality sets in. the idea is fun and often the 1st few vists. If she can permanently have stuff at his house and choose bedding for there etc it can help.

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    It sounds positive. Like the others have said, once it actually happens though reality may set in and she might find it a bit difficult to adjust.

    I think that as long as you and your XDH maintain a united front, ie, keep all your negative thoughts, feelings, actions to yourself and don't express them to or in front of the children they should be ok.

    Kids can be accepting. If they know that you are both happy and they can continue to have you both firmly in their lives and that they don't have to play favourites then I don't see why the won't just take it in their stride. I think that most of the problems come from parents who can't keep their opinions to themselves and blame each other. The children then struggle with trying to please both parents and that can only lead to tears and drama.

    You both brought these wonderful little creatures into the world, so why shouldn't you both raise them together - even if you aren't living under the same roof.

    I think it would be nice if they could split some of the things they have in their room now and then buy some new things for both rooms. That way they have new and old. For example, a favourite old quilt but a new bedside lamp. It would be nice for them if they didn't have to pack a bag each time they went to stay with the other parent. I know that this can be a little costly but it might make it a little more seamless.

    Good luck.

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    My DD "seemed" to cope well for the first - maybe 18 months. Then she had some delayed reactions. Spilt up occurred around the time she turned 4. So she was about to start a year of kindy (big transition time for her).

    She's 6 now, and still has times when she will cry for 45mins after a drop-off. Still asks when mum and dad will get married, when we will all live in same place again etc. She shows signs of depression.

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    We've been sperated a year now. DD2 who was 3 at the split seems fine and adjusted easily. DD1 was 5 and had just started prep. She is up and down, was all good for 6-8 weeks then I think reality hit and she realised it was permanant so we started getting a few tears of wanting mummy and daddy to live together. Now mostly she is ok but there is the odd day here and there when she talks about it or I notice on the weekend pick ups if she is tired it exacerbates it and theres tears.
    I guess every child is different and will react differently. We try to remain friends, spend time as a family still on birthdays/ xmas etc.

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    2.5yrs later, we're still struggling, to work out how to do annual celebrations. We have so little family, it's very lonely for my child, to have an annual celebration, just one parent and her. The communication between her father and i is not good, hence xmas eve last year, neither of us knew where bilby would be spending xmas day. Xmas Day was messy and sad. So much stress, every annual event (yes, i am dreading Easter for same reason). Last year, i didn't get to see my own child, on Mother's Day or my birthday, until, like very late in the day, and it was random, so i was unprepared. Instead of being a happy time, i was grimacing thru tears, trying to put a brave face on for bilby but failing pretty bad.

  11. #11

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    My DD1 was still a baby when we separated but from all my research the most important things are just keeping everyone positive about the situation and all people involved in it so sounds like you're ticking those boxes.

    My DD1 is now 4 and has never been anything but comfortable with the arrangement but since she was so young it is all she has ever known really which could be why. I met DP when she was almost 2 and we had DD2 very shortly after (read basically 9 months, panic stations but luckily worked out in the end) and whilst she has memories of just the three of us (DP, herself and I), she can't seem to recall a time when it was just her and I (living with her grandparents which she also doesn't seem to remember at all) even when we speak to her about it (such as talking about when she was born and she will ask if DP was there and we remind her that we didn't meet him till later etc). I guess at the moment this is just very much her default position of normal. We are all holding our breathe for as she gets older and starts to realise lots of (most) people live with their dad (although she has in the last year started calling DP 'daddy DP') leading to questions why she (or we) doesn't(don't) as she has never really asked yet. She did go through a period of not wanting a different last name to me (I have my original surname, DD1 has her dad's and DD2 has DP's) but we all explained it to her and she seemed okay about it. Truth be told I would love to change her surname but I don't think it is appropriate to encourage or push despite her bringing it up unprompted so we just gave her the facts and left it at that, the most important thing to us is that she is comfortable.

    We have always just made sure people in her life reinforce that having two homes (and two dads in her situation) is lucky and neat (grandparents etc all on board with the concept). During the week we make sure to talk about her dad like when we do things we might say you'll have to tell dad about that when you sleepover on the weekend and when she is with her dad he does similar so that she knows we are all cool with each other and her life is one fluid and joint thing rather than two separate lives if that makes sense.

    In our situation, DP and I are the main carers and we make the major decisions and inform her bio-dad as such (this was agreed upon by all, we often ask him for his input but he prefers to defer to us). When we explain it to others the easiest way to describe it is that DP and I (and DD2) are DD1s family unit while her bio-dad is similar to an involved grandparent, a close relative. It works for us but mostly works well for DD1.

    Every situation is very unique though, I'm not sure what will happen is DD1's dad enters a new relationship which I assume is somewhere in our future considering it has been over 3 years now but we just hope as long as we all focus on being positive then we can navigate it in a way that is supportive of DD1. DP is also terrified of the day DD1 tries to use the 'you're not my real dad' line. Plus there is probably going to be a point where DD1 and DD2 are confused about why they have to spend time apart type thing - both wanting to go or to stay. So even after the initial reality hit there can be many points that require a new investment in adjustment. I just hope even if we have difficult points that one day DD1 will be able to look back and understand it from another perspective even if she can't from her own straight away. I hope it will be obvious to her how we tried our best in a situation that was necessary so I try to keep that as my focus - it isn't just about how things are for her right now but how she will feel looking back with the extra wealth of experience and maturity behind her.

    My parents are still together but I know there were things in my childhood I thought were unfair or that I couldn't understand at the time but looking back I know my parents always did their best and had my interests at heart, so when I worry about there being dark points I just need to hold onto that; this was the right decision for everyone and that will get clearer with time.

  12. #12

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    Just revisiting this thread.

    Well, we're three weeks post-separation and I realise that it's still early days but things are going well so far. The girls see their dad pretty much every day and sleep over on weekends when his roster allows.

    There have been no tears and I made sure that the girls have never seen me upset. They have only ever seen their mum and dad being positive/enthusiastic about dad having a new house. I stay for a cup of tea at drop offs and XDP does the same here.

    I got a bit worried yesterday when DD1 asked me when I was going to marry daddy. Had to explain that wouldn't be happening. Turned out that she just fancied the idea of being flower girl. Might have been a bit early but floated the idea that when she is much older I might get married to someone else. Her words: "I wouldn't mind that at all mum as long as I get to be flower girl and as long as daddy can see you getting married too."

    So, I realise that there is still the potential for the girls to be upset down the track, but as far as starts go, I think we've made a pretty good one. XDP is 1.5km away, less than a 5 min drive and walking distance away for the girls when they're older.

    Thank you everyone for sharing your stories and making me alert to the fact that excitement at the outset and then sadness when it sinks in is to be expected. Hugs to all of you for whom the sadness is lingering.

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    Pleased to hear things are going well so far. They are young, so hopefully things will be fairly smooth sailing. I don't know if others have listed, but there are some picture story books that you could read with the girls. I think one is called - It's just different now

    St Lukes Innovative Resources or Peoplemaking have websites that list a few - it might be something else that could help explain things....?

    I think you and XDP should be proud of the way you are handling things. best of luck and a for those times the tears are falling xox

  14. #14

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    My DS ages 2 and 4, have coped well with my separation. I actually felt they would cope better being younger. They generally tell me at some point each week that they miss their Dad, want to see their Dad, that they don't like me and want their Dad etc... I try not to take it personally, but it does make me sad.
    I'm sure when they are older, they may request to go live with him, I can only hope that they will want to come back home to me once they realise the grass is not actually grener on the other side.

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