How to tell your 6 year old son Mum and Dad are seperating??

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  • #53985 Report


    Any advice on how best to tell your 6 y/o child, Mummy & Daddy are seperating?

    My ex-partner is short tempered, aggressive and somewhat controlling. He can’t accept this is happening and blames me for “tearing up the family”. Im also pregnant, but despite how many chances I’ve given him, encouraged him to get help, and to keep at it to protect him, I cannot continue in this “relationship” so I’ve made the decision to separate. In an ideal world, I want us to remain a unit, be amicable, respectful towards one another but he is making it very difficult. Always gets angry at me and our son, bangs things, throws things, shouts…. I now recognise this as emotional abuse. I’m trying to do all the right things to protect our son, remove him from that life whilst he still has respect for his Dad.

    We will tell him together but I worry that my ex will get angry / upset in front of him.

    Do we tell his childminder and school?

    What behaviour signs might we expect?

    Any advice on how best to communicate this news to a child is greatly appreciated.

    Thank you


    #53987 Report


    I would suggest being honest without all of the gory details.  Chances are your son will of picked up on things and after the initial shock will probably be a happier little boy.

    #53990 Report


    I’m surprised he’s willing to have the conversation at all if he’s so anti the split,.. but if he is, it’s best coming from both of you. If it gets out of hand, end the conversation and follow up with your child alone.

    As Kaze said, be honest, but keep the details out of it. Maybe frame it simply as : mummy and daddy aren’t going to live together anymore.

    At 6, he might be worried about what this means in very practical terms: where will he live? Who will he live with? Will he still see both of you? Will you both still be his mum/dad? Can be still go to school? prepare answers or if you don’t know – say so. It’s ok to not know right now and say you can figure it out together. He’ll probably feel things are out of his control, so giving him a sense of involvement and having a say in how it works out might help.

    Once you have firm plans, let external people know (school etc) so they can be aware he might need some additional support/monitoring.

    Behaviour could be anything. Every child is different. He could become angry and aggressive (frustration, lack of control, fear), or sullen and withdrawn (fear, sadness, feeling rejected). Or he could even become super keen to please and be seen to be happy (need to still be loved by both parents). Be aware that all behaviour comes from an emotion. Identify the emotion(s) and try to help him manage them. For example: fear. Tell him what’s going to happen in very precise terms so he knows what will change and what won’t.

    #53996 Report


    Thank you both. Definitely helpful to be prepared on what questions he might ask and how best to answer them by keeping it as honest as necessary.

    All this gives me anxiety but I know its thee best thing to do #scared #alone

    #53997 Report


    Ooh my gosh. This is a tough question.

    You have to be honest with you kid and I think this is the best way to tell him true.

    What I said to my son was “your mom and I decided to live apart, both of us take care of you and we love you more than anything ”


    It worked for me but it was so so tough and remembered that time I cried so hard.

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