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proexpert37
proexpert37, Educator/Life Coach
Category: Parenting
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My husband and I have separated after 6 years of marriage.

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My husband and I have separated after 6 years of marriage. My 4 year old son lives with me. I'd like to sit down with him and try to explain to him what's going on and answer any questions he may have.

His dad is manipulative and will often ignore my son when he's angry with me at a way of getting back at me (ie he won't kiss or hug or say goodbye to his son, won't "allow" his son to come over, etc). So I think it's really important to try to have an open line of communication with my son.

Do you have any suggestions on how to talk to him? How to explain the separation and divorce? What questions to ask him?

Hello and thank you for using Just Answer. I am sorry about the divorce because it is not an easy situation for anyone. You can first ask your son what he thinks has been going on just to see what he is thinking. Then tell him that you will always love him and that Daddy will always be his Daddy. Then you have to be really general with your explanation for his age. Tell him something like how some people argue and have hard times. Some people end up going different ways like when Sponge Bob and Patrick argue.

 

Your son may not have much to say right now. Just be there to comfort him. Watch for any changes in his behavior such as aggression or withdrawal from usual activities. These may be signs that he is more affected by the situation than you have realized. You can always seek counseling for your son from a child therapist who specializes in play therapy to help your son if it comes to that point.

 

Hope this helps.

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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Is there anything in particular that I should watch for?

Also, I'm concerned that my ex husband won't be putting my son's best interest in front of his feelings and anger. What do I do when my husband starts saying things about me or my family to my son?

Do you think that at 4 years old he "gets it" that his dad never calls him, rarely sees him, and sometimes doesn't say goodbye/kiss goodbye/ hug good bye?

With regards XXXXX XXXXX son, watch out for signs of easily getting frustrated over simple tasks, outbursts of crying for no apparent reason, and an overall feeling of not being happy or excited about his usual interests...like he is preoccupied about thinking about something else.

 

If your ex husband bad mouths you and your family to your son, you can tell your ex that you would like for him to stop...which he probably will not do. So really there is nothing you can do to stop him. As long as you continue to be positive and NEVER say anything bad about your ex husband to your son, he will start to soon realize that his dad is only trying to make you look bad and you are nothing like what your husband makes you out to be.

 

Your son may feel a little sad that his dad is not as vocal and affectionate toward him. You can ask your son how he feels about it, so you will have a clearer understanding. He may not be able to express his true feelings though. He may just say that he feels mad. sad, or nothing at all. If he really does not have an opinion, just leave the issue alone unless he wants to discuss it. He may just become accustomed to his dad's behavior.

 

Hope this helps!!!

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