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The Elephant in Our Family

divorce

We are “one big happy family” full of divorced, and sometimes re-married, grandparents, aunts and uncles. For the past few years, my daughter has required no explanation. She has innocently assumed that everyone always gets along, because when our extended families come together, we will all just get along.

As her mother, of course I’d love to help her live in this idyllic world forever. Recently though, she’s been asking more questions, and seems less satisfied with my vague answers. I’m constantly wondering how much we should tell her and when.

Divorce details aside (until she’s much older), below are some of the messages I’d most like to share with her.

First and foremost…

Yes, Mommy and Daddy are planning to stay together forever.

Her question took us by surprise, but as my daughter begins to put the pieces of our extended family puzzle together, we can’t blame her curious mind for asking.

You are so loved.

The more people in our family, the more people who love her. This is apparent at every family get-together, on special occasions, and during the holidays. How lucky is she?

Life is complicated.

There’s a long list of reasons why two people may choose to be together, and an even longer list of reasons why they may choose to separate. That’s okay, life is so complicated.

You never need to stay in an unhealthy relationship.

Abuse, addiction, affairs, or anything that puts you and/or your child(ren) at risk. In our family (and in my opinion) these are all valid reasons that may end a relationship. Your relationships might not always be easy, but they should always be healthy.

Have you spoken with your child(ren) about divorce? How did you decide how much to say?

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