Why Daddy?

“Why Daddy? Why did you and Mommy get a divorce?” was the question that hung in the air, asked with a voice that was filled with pain and confusion. I looked down to see my eight-year-old daughter’s tear-filled eyes looking up at me. My heart was tied in a knot, and I was speechless.

When a marriage fails, children, regardless of age, want to know why. That is a natural reaction to any tragedy. As people, we want to try and make sense out of the senseless. Just as naturally, we seek to give answers. It is a way of easing the pain and bringing some order out of chaos. If we can give a reason for the unthinkable, maybe then it will make sense…

One of the most challenging aspects of divorce is what to tell our children. Providing detailed answers to their questions can seem like a natural way to help. But is it? When those answers provide negative information about the other parent, we can be doing more harm than good. So often, the ears that are hearing the answers are not prepared to receive them.

A better strategy is to trust that God’s timing is perfect and information will be revealed at the proper time for all involved. Instead of dishing out all the dirt on the failures of the other parent, it is better to deflect the question to the other parent to give them an opportunity to answer. Even if they don’t provide full disclosure — or worse, provide misinformation — we can trust that God is ultimately in control and will reveal all that needs to be revealed in its proper time — His time.

For there is nothing hidden except to be made visible; nothing is secret except to come to light. – Mark 4:22

Originally posted 2018-03-15 00:30:05.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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4 thoughts on “Why Daddy?

  1. Hi Vince! Love your daily reflections. Can you provide any other insight on having this discussion with children? My divorce is about to be finalized and I have an incredibly precocious 6 year old and very sentimental 4 year old daughters that I am not looking forward to sharing the news with. They understand Mommy and Daddy live in separate houses but still very much think we are married.

    I don’t think your intent was to recommend letting the other parent handle sharing the news or the ‘why’ behind it but that’s how I read it. Looking for any other recommendations you can provide. Obviously I am praying for discernment from the Holy Spirit to guide both my separated spouse’s and my own hearts during this time, although unfortunately we are just not on the same page about anything really at this point.

    Thanks in advance!

    • Hi Brad,

      I don’t believe there is any easy way to tell your children that their parents are getting a divorce. Further, it is difficult for them to understand at any age. What I was expressing in this Daily Inspiration was and approach that helps younger kids get there head’s around this very difficult reality while preserving their opportunity to love both parents. When one parent blames the other parent for the divorce directly to the children, it creates a lot of anxiety with the children due to divided loyalties. The children want to freely love both parents and when they feel like they must choose that compounds the pain and anxiety they are already experiencing. They will learn the truth as they grow older and can begin to put the pieces of their parents divorce together on their own time and when they are mature enough to handle the full scope of what happened. By preserving the other parents ability to disclose specific details is really in what is in the best interests of the kids, as it frees them to love the other parent. Of course, if there are safety or health concerns for the children that should be handled directly.

      Live Abundantly,

  2. Bad things happen to innocent people. I am getting divorced after close to 40 years of marriage because of the escalating violence and my husband’s lifelong hidden life–porn (even child), prostitutes. I am sorry about the effects on my children. I spent the years seeking help from one counselor, rehab, priest, seminary, monastery, lawyer after another. There was just no other avenue left. I need encouragement–not guilt. My children need to know that we have to walk away from evil, be strong, and lean on our heavenly father and mother. We need to choose to live a life free of someone else’s demons and filled with hope, love, faith, service to those for whom it will make a difference.