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Do kids have ANY right to know?


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  #1  
January 11th, 2012, 05:45 AM
beck12's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Do older kids or adult grown children have any right to know why their parent's split? I don't mean legal rights fo course, I just mean moral/ethical rights?

I don't know what I think. I tend to think they do have some right. I also know there could be things you would never want your kids to know. I think it can be very unkind though to give a child no reason or one that doens't really answer "Why" - since divorce is often very upsetting to kids, even teens, especially if no reason is given other than mom & dad don't want to be married to each other anymore. I can't imagine how I would have reacted if that happened in my teen years & my parent swouldn't tell me "why".

What got me thinking about this was a show I watched where the parents split & no one would tell the teen son why. I really felt for him as *I* would want to know too & feel I had a RIGHT to now since it obviously effects the kids deeply. Heck, even now, if my parents split I would want to know why. I don't know that I would feel as entitled to a reason today though as I would have if I had to live in the home while they went through the divorce. Honestly too - I think many of us with parents still married might have a good guess as to "why" now that we are grown & we have a better understanding of our parent's marital issues. I don't think my parents will ever split, but I am not sure I would ask "why" if they did now that I think about it.

I guess for me I think a teen should be told why other than in rare exceptions. Even then, they should be told as much as possible & given SOME explanation. I think it is almost cruel to have a child have to live with the aftermath of parents splitting without even having a clue as to what happened or why it is going on. Smaller children of course are different. You'd have to take that more on a case by case basis taking into account their age & how much info they can process & understand & their maturity level. Some kids could handle some info at 10 that others could not at age 12.
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  #2  
January 11th, 2012, 07:52 AM
HappyHippy's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Yes I think older kids and adult children have a right to know why their parents divorced. I think it helps with closure and moving on.
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  #3  
January 11th, 2012, 08:11 AM
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In the absence of information people create their own reality. That's a lot of baggage to put on a child. They have a right to know.
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  #4  
January 11th, 2012, 08:11 AM
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Good question. It would depend on the why and the age. If my children were grown then I would probably tell them why. However, if it were for something like cheating, it would depend on the age. I wouldn't want my child to have any anger toward myself or my husband if we split over one of us cheating.
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  #5  
January 11th, 2012, 09:10 AM
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I think children have the right to know who their parents are - good and bad. So yes, I think the children have a right to know why their parents split. I think when you have children, you are accepting that you will open yourself up to another person and that person deserves honesty from you. Obviously its dependent on age and maturity, but if my kids ask me a question - I will answer them honestly.
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  #6  
January 11th, 2012, 09:33 AM
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My parents divorced shortly after I got married, I was 24. My mom didn't outright tell me why but definitely insinuated it was because my dad was cheating. She didn't want to tell me since she didn't want to hurt my relationship with him, but she did say things like he broke the marriage vows and she found something about a hotel on a credit card receipt. Later I got more of the story from my sister who is two years younger than me and closer to my mom... things had been going on for years with him being unfaithful so it was kind of the last straw, plus my youngest sister was in 12th grade then so she basically tried to wait until we were all grown up.

So, I did (and still do) hold lots of resentment towards my dad for breaking up our family and I'm not very close to him. However if I wasn't told any reason at all for them divorcing I really don't know if our relationship would be a lot different (for how often we talk or see each other) just because we were never close. And it would drive me crazy to not know and I'd probably think crazy things up.
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  #7  
January 11th, 2012, 11:43 AM
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Wow this is a toughy! I want to say that I don't think kids have a right to know. I mean what do you say "daddy's a cheater"

But the reality is that they probably will find out anyway or worse like in my dh's case. His ex told his dds that he was cheating on her with me (we met 6 months after he moved out of their house & 1 year after the parents decided to separate). When in truth she was on one who had multiple affairs including 1 that produced his oldest. Of course, dh did the honorable thing & never talked about it with his dds. So for years they resented me because they thought I broke up their family. It did so much damage that his oldest dd isn't part of our family. Once she learned the truth it was too late. She couldn't undo all the anger & resentment that had built up

Now she knows the truth & it was validated because her mom cheated on her next husband & is now divorced. DD is 17 so is much more aware & lives in a town of 200 so I'm sure she's heard stuff about her mom.
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  #8  
January 11th, 2012, 11:57 AM
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I think kids have the right to know things that are age appropriate and they don't ever need to know all of the sordid little details.

DH was never married to the woman he had his first child with. They were together for several years and lived together though. They split up when his daughter was only about a year old. When she was 3 her mother took her and moved 5 hours away so she didn't have as much visitation with her as most other shared custody parents would.

A few years ago we started having some trouble with her. She's 16 now. Well she was mad at her dad because she thought he was the reason that her parents weren't together anymore. Her mom had told her that her dad left. Right. He did end the relationship. But he ended because he came home and found her having sex with another guy. He finally told her that he left because she began a relationship with another man. He didn't say he walked in on them having sex or anything like that. She doesn't need to know all of that.
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  #9  
January 11th, 2012, 11:59 AM
Poncho06's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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Eh, I think that parents deserve a bit of privacy with it. Does it really matter if it was an affair vs. financial vs. emotional detachment. The bottom line is a divorce isn't one thing done by one party but a collection of things over a period of time that have made two people incompatible.
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  #10  
January 11th, 2012, 01:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Poncho06 View Post
Eh, I think that parents deserve a bit of privacy with it. Does it really matter if it was an affair vs. financial vs. emotional detachment. The bottom line is a divorce isn't one thing done by one party but a collection of things over a period of time that have made two people incompatible.
I agree. I think once a kid reaches adulthood, and the dynamics shift in the relationship, that's a different situation. Both of my parents have told me things about their marriage now that I'm an adult, that I had no idea of when I was a kid. It was already horrible to go through my parents' divorce, as an 8th grader, I didn't really need the extra baggage of the exact why. It already kind of feels like you have to choose sides when a divorce happens, even if it's not intentional (who you'll live with, etc), and Poncho's right - the bottom line is it takes two people to make a marriage work and most often than not, it's a jumble of things over a long period of time that makes it fail.
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  #11  
January 11th, 2012, 04:11 PM
plan4fate's Avatar I may bend, but not break
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Hmm.. this is a good question. I'm really not sure, and I think it would depend on the situation and the people involved.

I'm sure DSS will ask one day.. I just hope that BioMom and Dh can come up with a good answer (since it's not a pretty answer).
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  #12  
January 12th, 2012, 06:28 AM
Repti.Mom's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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My parents divorced when I was in my mid 20's. I'm not even sure exactly when it was, I don't keep terrible stuff on the calendar. I was very bitter with my mom for a long time because SHE was the one who had a new man friend immediately after they split. They never told me the reason for their divorce, but my mom said to me one time, it wasn't just because she found another man. I think I should have had a right to know as an adult what happened. I mean I lived with them for 18 years, I know that my dad wasn't verbally, emotionally, physically abusive in any way, all he did was work, besides volunteering for the town fire department in his free time, and having MS. Leads me to believe that she either left him because of the 'new man' or because she didn't want to deal with someone with an illness or disability. I still don't accept her husband as much as I immediately accepted dad's new wife, (whom he's only been married to for about 6 months btw, and he didn't meet til years after they were divorced after signing up for many dating sites, so it wasn't that he had another woman either!)

Anyway, long story short, I think children of a certain age should have a right to know.
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  #13  
January 12th, 2012, 10:09 AM
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My dad left when I was 17. He gave me the usual vague reasons. My mother was more explict in telling us that he'd cheated.

As an adult I now know a lot more of his side of it. It would have helped my relationship with him if he'd been more forthcoming, instead of me getting just my mother's side.

I think it's best if the child has age-appropriate information.
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  #14  
January 12th, 2012, 11:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Poncho06 View Post
Eh, I think that parents deserve a bit of privacy with it. Does it really matter if it was an affair vs. financial vs. emotional detachment. The bottom line is a divorce isn't one thing done by one party but a collection of things over a period of time that have made two people incompatible.
I completely agree. In a perfect world, this is the way it should be.
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