Reblogged from Marriage Crisis Manager on February 22, 2017

Guest blogger Tim Backes of specializes in assisting divorced and separated couples as well as legal professionals and making their lives a little less hectic when it comes to the painful process of separation and communication. In this article Tim shares some great advice on how to talk to your kids about the family’s future.

Divorce is an agonizing experience. It’s tough on many things — your emotions,
finances, and most of all, kids.
While you can shield your children from a lot of things, divorce is one of those things
that needs to be dealt with head-on. If a potential divorce is brewing in your
marriage, kids will probably pick up on it . They feel the energy of an impending
separation or divorce as something large and looming in their lives.
When the day comes for you to address the issue directly with your kids, there are
ways to do it that are much healthier than other ways, and if you get one thing right
in how you divorce, you have to make sure it happens when dealing with your children.

Delivering the News
Once you have decided to divorce, and you know the date your spouse will move
out, plan a meeting together approximately two weeks beforehand. Both spouses
should be present with the children if at all possible, and both should approach the
conversation in an adult-like way. You will focus on the facts and know that blame
and shame will not be a part of this conversation:

1. Remember, the truth will set you free. Children are often more in-tune
with what’s happening than many parents realize, so don’t try to mislead
them or minimize. Let them know the divorce is due to a problem between
you and your spouse and not in any way related to them. Be firm that you
will divorce, and will not be reconciling. Tell them truthful, general things
like, we just aren’t a good fit anymore and we grew apart. If they ask
questions, answer them honestly. Take responsibility when necessary.
2. Put the kids first and remember the Golden Rule. Divorces can fall within
the range of an amicable split to a knockdown-drag-out. If you have children
you owe it to them to put your heated feelings aside and act mature and
reasonable toward each other and them. Promise yourselves you will never
speak poorly of each other to your children.
3. Express your willingness to be available. This does not mean dropping
what you are doing to run to your child every time they need. It has to be
reasonable. When it is your turn to have the kids, they need to stay with you,
and when they are with your ex, you will not rescue them when they are
disgruntled. When your child is upset with your ex just support them by
saying life is tough, and that they need to work out parent issues with the
parent they are angry with. Refuse to be in the middle. At the same time, let
them know you are available by phone should they need or want to connect.
Ask them if they would like you to call on a regular basis and even at a
regular time. If your child reaches out, be there. Listen to what they have to
say, even if it’s something simple like a short story about something that they
learned in school that day. This helps them maintain some sort or normalcy
in their lives, which helps make them feel safe.

Just because you are getting a divorce does not mean you will no longer be a family.
You will always be a family, and families exist in all sorts of configurations. It is not
divorce that messes kids up so much as does the consternation and anger expressed
between the parents. To have the best result you can possible have, control your
behavior with your ex, and always be respectful. You can bet that your kids are
watching, and they need to see you treat their parent decently and fairly.

Tim for more information on

Another question from from a woman named Wendy. Poor Wendy … read on … and DO tell me what YOU think …

Subject: The children’s relationship with a soon-to-be ex

Question: Dear Doctor Becky,

My ex and I have two daughters they are now 7 and 9. Our divorce has been final for over two years, my ex was married again in November of 2008, he is now going through another divorce and planning on marrying again as soon as his divorce is final. His new fiance lives on the other side of the country and an old high school friend.  The girls have met her a few times in the past and have had a full day play date with his new fiance recently.  That aside he is demanding an absolute cut off of contact with his soon to be ex.  She loves the girls and they love her.  She was their mother for over a year.  At the advice of a child psychologist I agreed to assist in slowly "weaning" them off step-mom time, and that the visits would be supervised by me for a while and then the only contact would be e-mail or phone and then eventually no contact. After one supervised visit I felt like the odd man out, there was not negative talk about the girls dad…there was so many other things talk about, and the girls soon to be ex step mom (STBESM) is a child psychologist, doctor level.  So a month later, after the girls cried themselves to sleep and called their STBESM saying they wanted a play date; I scheduled a play date I stayed for about 10-15 minutes and then they all went off to CPK for lunch. Two hours later I met them and we sat for 20 more minutes then off we went. The girls were happy and everything was fine.  Once they got to their dad’s and told him he went ballistic and has now forbid them from ever talking to their STBESM when they are with him again.  I understand he wishes to get on with his life and start his next marriage but I worry terribly about what this will do to the girls. I think they need time to end their ties to their STBESM. I feel like we are dealing with two separate issues here and he just can’t see that.  What do I do now? How do I proceed to allow the girls closure, respect their dad, not build abandonment issues, anxiety and just to do the right thing?


The Mom!

Answer: Hi Wendy,

My how divorce can weave a tangled mess … what could be a neatly wound up ball of yarn ends up hopelessly snarled, snagged and stuck. And who does it hurt? The kids, of course.

I feel badly that you have to co-parent with this moron of a dad. If I was working with your husband I would instruct him to stop being so selfish and fearful, and to step up and do what it is loving — which is to allow his children the space to love their (former) step mom. What do we teach our kids when we "wean" them off of people who are important to them and who cause them no harm? (It’s so awful to ponder that I think I won’t do it.) Because of geography, I would imagine that in time the kids will wean naturally from the step mom … if so, fine, if not, let them stay in touch for goodness’ sake.

But, from reading your letter, I imagine selfishness is part of who this man is. Why else would he march so many women through his girl’s lives? This, and not allowing them to stay in contact with his ex, will teach them not to attach to important people who come along. By the time they start hanging with the newest one they’ll have the attitude, "Why bother?" It’s all so sad.

If I were you, I would throw out what the psychologist said about weaning them — that is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard — as if they are animals or objects and not humans. When the kids are with you, allow them "normal" contact with STBESM … unsupervised visits, phone calls, etc. When they are with their dad, he unfortunately may screw them up any way he likes, so long as it is not considered child abuse. Thankfully he has no say over what the kids do when they are with you, so long as it is not harmful to them.

In an ideal world you and your ex could negotiate and work this out, but he doesn’t sound like someone who compromises. All this acrimony will certainly damage the kids, and for that, shame on him. Your children need as much love, support, and caring as they can get, and should not have to feel guilty about who they love.

I hope this helps — good luck!

Doctor Becky