It’s inevitable—your children will embarrass you in public. You know it’s Karma right? We’re all expecting it to happen since, of course, we embarrassed our own parents. But when it happens, you still can’t help but wish that invisibility power you’ve always hoped for would magically kick in.
The two most embarassing moments of my parental life have both been when, standing in line to board an airplane, my son ask in a not so quiet voice, why I’m divorced. Larry David couldn’t have scripted a more precise setup to evoke the pinnacle of awkwardness.
Whether it was the “Mommy, why don’t you have a husband?” as we stood wedged in between two male passengers, or the plain old “Mommy, why did you divorce from daddy?” as we handed our boarding passes to the attendant. Yep, that actually happened. Whichever way you slice it I realized he needed some answers.
First thing to note, I did my research back in the early days when my ex and I split up. My son was two and a half, so I was relieved to find that many therapists do NOT recommend sitting down with a young child and having some big, overwhelming “we’re getting divorced” talk. I discovered it is much easier on young children to share the information in terms they understand at their current age, and then expand on the concept and the language as they grow older and ask new questions.
I’m not claiming to be a child psychologist so please, if you are going through a divorce, do your own research and find a therapist you trust to help you and your kids through this transition. You don’t want to create fear, regret or even self-destructive behavior due to lack of understanding. Kids need to know both parents love them and a divorce is their fault.
This leads me to the real point of this post. My own therapist recommended a book called “Dinosaurs Divorce: A Guide For Changing Families,” by Laurie Krasny Brown and Marc Brown. It’s simple, has interesting pictures and can shed light on the changes kids experience both externally and internally. It has been an amazing resource for me. So when my son asks me “Mommy, don’t you like daddy?” I can lean on this book to help guide the conversation (or steer it away from unproductive ideas) to ensure my own grown up feelings don’t mistakenly rear themselves in a way that might hurt my relationship with my son.
I did some additional searching recently and found there are plenty of other age-appropriate books out there that can help kids through the transition of divorce. Do a quick search on Amazon to find one to help with the challenges facing your family. Plus, it’s always nice to let someone else do the talking, and books are perfect for that!