Polk Moms

Connecting moms in Polk County, Fla.

My husband wants a divorce. I really don't know what to think about it. I'm upset, surprised, angry and sad. I don't understand the reasons he says we need to call it quits after nine years and three kids. I don't even know what to tell the kids or how, when or where. Any advice on the best way to handle the situation and keep my emotions intact around the children?

I tried to hide my emotions from my children while going through a divorce and it backfired terribly. Talk to them and tell them as much as possible simply because they need to know what's going on instead of wondering if they did something wrong to cause the divorce. - Sara F. in St. Paul, MN

FROM JODIE:

Divorce is really hard on everyone, especially if it comes as a surprise. Keeping your emotions intact is just about as hard. If you haven't already mentioned professional counseling for the two of you as a couple, be sure to do so. If he agrees, choosing someone that you both agree on usually works out best. Should he decline this idea, you can go by yourself. There are many good books on divorce but talking with a professional either by yourself or in a group will help immensely. Joining a support group is also a very positive step.

Although it's very common for kids to think that in some way, they are to blame, do not let them feel like it is because it will cause them to worry and constantly contemplate how they can fix things, including how they can change to become a "better" person. Therefore, you will need to talk with them about the situation. Share as much with them as you are comfortable with based on what you feel they will understand.

For example, maybe the oldest one will understand things better than the other two, so you will want to choose your words carefully and differently. Maybe with the younger kids, you would not want to provide too many details to where they become confused. When you talk to them, maybe share information with each individual one instead of offering a blanket explanation. It's best to think over what information you will choose to cover with each one before doing so. This is something a professional can help with as well.

Hopefully, your soon-to-be-ex will want his relationship with them to continue and the two of you can work out an acceptable visiting schedule to make this happen. Try to keep their daily routines as close to normal as possible. Even though you may like nothing better than for them to turn away from him, they still need their dad and also need to know that he still loves them as well as you do.

CAN YOU HELP?

Our eight-month-old son is crawling around and pulling himself up but will also hold onto tables, drawers, cabinets, etc., and we need a guideline of just how to baby/child-proof our home. We've tried a few things but he's pretty strong and can get some of the more simple latches off. Any ideas?

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