When you’re ending your marriage, chances are you’ll spend hours agonizing over how to tell your children about your divorce. And so you should. It’s a hard and difficult conversation. Do it well, and years down the road, they likely won’t remember the specifics. Do it poorly, and they’ll remember it forever.
Today, I’d like to introduce you to my next guest, Fiona McGlynn who is a child of divorce. Fiona is 26 years old now and her parents divorced when she was about eleven and her younger sister was about eight. Her recollection of learning about her parents’ divorce is insightful. Here’s Fiona:
I don’t remember the actual day. It’s interesting. You’d think that that would stand out.
I’m not entirely sure what the nature of that separation period was. My parents were quite forthright though, with information about what was going on with them, so I assumed that when they were saying the separation period at that time, it was what it was meant to be and possibly even trying then to work through things.
It goes to show how the impact does not just come down to one conversation or one day of reckoning, I suppose.
My experience with my dad leaving the house, I remember it being unsettling and there was change involved. But I think my parents did a wonderful job of not making it out to be a big, bad thing in many respects. There was no upset around divorce. It was like once they decided that that’s the way they were going to do things, in many ways it became a lot easier, because all of a sudden that tension was no longer in the house.
My parents were very civil after that. We still got together for Christmas and birthdays and there was no angst or conflict between them at those occasions.
The Divorce Coach Says
There’s one message in here that really stands out for me and that’s Fiona recalling that after her parents had decided to separate, the tension in the house disappeared.
I remember feeling that when my ex moved out. Suddenly, home was a place I wanted to come back to, I wasn’t walking on eggshells any longer but I haven’t had a conversation with my children about whether it was something they also felt.
If you’re feeling that tension, I suspect your children are probably feeling it too although they may not be able to articulate it.
Does knowing that help you take that huge step of physically separating?
Have you asked your children about feeling the tension?
Based on her experience as a child of divorce, Fiona McGlynn has written a beautiful book, i and the Great Divide, aimed at helping children understand that their parents’ divorce is not their fault.
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