My ex and I are no longer together - how can I explain it to our child?

I’m sure a lot of moms haven’t been in this situation. But I need positive feedback. As it’s been hard on me. My ex and I have been together for eight years. Grade nine sweethearts. We’ve been by each other’s side three years before our relationship as good friends. Everything was fine. Great. Until August. We broke up. He got into the drugs. He called children services on me. Fast forward he’s up on charges ran from the police. To be with his ex, which is no better than he is. He is running from the police and skipping court. Blocked me off everything. Changed his number. I know my kids, and I are better without him. But how do I explain to my four-year-old daughter were her daddy is . and once she’s older all this could have her thinking she isn’t good enough because her own father ran away from her. I don’t ever want him around my kids or myself again. I plan on going for full custody. but how do I explain to my kids why daddy just up and left


He ran off to be with his ex girlfriend from 8th grade?


You don’t. That is something that you deal with and carry the burden of. It’s what moms do. You have to just say daddy loves you and you will see him soon. It’s hard but they are too young to deal with that. You have to. Anything else is unfair.


Be as honest as you can with them to an extent (taking in their age and maturity) shes 4 so for now just tell her he went away. My eldest from my first marriage was 5 when her bio left the picture. By then id been with my SO (husband now) for 3 years and she’d grown disinterested with Bio for hardly being there in the first place. It don’t get easier as they get older but they see more and understand the situation clearer. Best of luck hon

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Dont tell her anything unless it is asked by herm Just tell her daddy had to go.

Do not lie to your child explain it the best way a four year old will understand it like baby daddy is sick and getting help when he’s better you’ll see him


Trust me personally speaking I was raised with a Mom that did drugs in front of me and my two little sisters . I was raised to 4 days at a time even months. He doesn’t deserve you and he doesn’t deserve that little beautiful four-year-old that you have.
Just explain to her when she does get over that it does not her fault up and it’s nothing to do with her, her father made his own bad decisions and she cannot let that affect her.
I wish you nothing but luck and if you need somebody to talk to you I’m always here💜

What I did was explain to my son that no matter what mommy and daddy will always love him and that daddy is sick right now so he has to stay away so daddy doesn’t get you sick too. I know its not the best way but it worked then for me. After a while she will stop asking and when she is old enough you can choose to tell her the truth or let her figure it out on her own.


Ive never explained to my son why his real father is not around. I figured when hes ready and starts asking id give an age appropriate answer. But i wouldn’t tell her anything. If she asks just say daddy had to leave for awhile.

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Daddy needs to get help from lots of doctors to get better and until hes ready to accept help to get better daddy cant stay with us. If asked why say that sometimes people need help and arnt ready for it and it makes it dangerous to be around them. Maybe when you are older we can talk about it more. Until then its momma and you slumber parties every day! ( or whatever you choose to sooth it over) kids are smart if you explain it clearly as you can to their understanding. That young they wont understand the whole thing but getting sick and doctors they should be able to comprehend. Later when they get older and ask you can explain in better honest detail. I hope it gives you some ideas.


I agree with the others above, don’t tell them anything unless they ask you and say he’s just a little sick and needed to get help so he can get better. Go for full custody, he probably won’t show up to court anyways because he’ll know he will get arrested if he does have a warrant for running before.

Truth just the truth

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I personally wouldn’t talk adult situations with a 4 year old child. Let her know that he loves her.


Okay, I’m young yes but I was in a relationship with my babies dad for 5+ years. That whole time he was very abusive. Finally I had the courage to leave. When I did my son was younger (3 yrs). Of course he didn’t know what was going on but as he got older he would ask why I don’t kiss daddy or why daddy doesn’t live with us. I found the best result was to be honest with him (but I have been since he could understand) I told him that daddy did mean things to mommy and that is was best we didn’t live together anymore. He understood and still loves his daddy more than anything in this whole world but he does know the truth. I would be honest with your children (I mean don’t go telling them that daddy is on drugs) but let them know that sometimes parents fall out of love and nothing is their fault. And if he isn’t active in their life anymore just let them know daddy and mommy had to take a break.

You get to a PROFESSIONAL councilor to get your answers. Not Facebook… When it comes you have to seek out the best advice. U have been a child care provider for well over 20 years and have seen it all… The best results start with you having the right “tools” to answer the tough questions…

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Explain that daddy made some really bad mistakes and when grown ups do that the punishment is more than just a few minutes in the corner. Let her know that you do not know when or if she will see daddy again, but that this separation is Not her fault or yours. Let her draw pictures or otherwise express herself. If she is really having a problem with his absence check with her doctor and get a referal for a child’s therapist. It could be that she will be happier without all the turmoil daddy has caused. It could be that daddy will finally get sober and get his act together, but that could take years. I would not count on it and I would not give the child false hope. Do the best you can to make yourself and your child safe, healthy and happy and take the rest one day at a time.


Speaking from experience, my dad did the same thing and my mom just said my dad was away and when he can he’ll come see me… I have zero recollection of my mom and dad ever being together but he was active for a while… he then left me at my moms and never came back… I was 7. I didn’t understand, I thought he didn’t want me… my mom explained that my dad has some personal issues he needs to handle and he’ll come around. She never once trashed him, kept us from him (she wouldn’t allow us to go with him but she never denied him coming to the house to visit, not like he did but the invite was there) and when we get older we’d understand more…

Another personal experience, my ex husband and I split, our daughter (she was 5 at the time, not bio mine but I’m the only mom she’s known, long story). I left him due to his drinking and drug use… 12 years of a relationship, starting when I was a freshman in HS, and I left… our daughter would ask me if she was the reason we split and why we weren’t together and I simply explained that her daddy was sick and we just couldn’t get along anymore and that we both loved her more than anything, we just no longer loved each other. She is now 8, I have moved on and have 2 children and her dad is 1yr sober, has got a great job doing what he loves and we are GREAT friends. Just explain to her the best you can without trashing her father, she will see who he is for herself and so will your other children. Stay strong, give them extra love, wipe their tears away and pray he will get help and be the dad they need.


Explain that daddy got in trouble and doesn’t want to face discipline. That’s he’s hiding from that not her.

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Just be nice to your child. Tell the chold that daddy no longer lives with you. Im sure that there are people in your childs life thst he loves but yous dont live with them and thats the. Way it is with daddy. Never talk bad in front of a child about either parent. All that does os HURT the child and lower thier self confidense.

You don’t tell a 4 year old that…all you can do is reassure her you are there for her…she will be alright, not the first child to grow up with a single parent…I raised 3 on my own and they turned out just fine!

This sounds like someone I know from Indiana :open_mouth:

Children should never and listen really closely NEVER be exposed or brought into adult situations, you need to wait until they can fully understand and focus on being the best mom you can be, focus on making the children happy in his absence, children are very adaptive and one week is like a year to them, we teach our children to believe in Santa, so you can teach her something similarly awesome about where Daddy is until she is much older and can emotionally process it.


I told my kids daddy loves you but he just doesn’t want to be a dad right now. They started asking around 3 and 4. They understood exactly what I was saying. Then when they finally did talk to their dad they weren’t phased when he disappeared again. Always be honest but age appropriate. I’m a firm believer unless they ask don’t volunteer but if they do ask give them a straight truthful answer


Daddy is off making bad choices. When he’s ready to make choices he can come back.


I never explained to my son exactly what happened. I just told him daddy and mommy love him regardless of they aren’t together but daddy and mommy are better off as friends

Daddy wasnt ready to be a daddy maybe one day he can the dad he is supose to. It will never be easy, all you can do is be honest about it and love your little one .

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Daddy has some issues that he needs to get help with and maybe when daddy is better we can see him again but theres no way while Daddy is sick…


Do not even bring it up where he is or why! Just keep reminding them that you are there and you love them, this IS NOT about your hatred towards him this is about keeping your children’s emotional and mental state in check so they can be kids! When they are older and able to understand just say daddy loves you but he was very sick and had to go away for awhile, then as they get even older and ask questions just keep giving them a little more but keep it positive, they’ll learn to hate him on their own, or not, but that’s not up to you to decide!


Dont even bring him up around the kids. Theyll forget him in time and as long as you keep quiet about him leaving,theyll never blame themselves.

Tell them Daddy’s not mad at them" he left because he wasn’t happy". Later you can tell more. The older they get the more they understand. I promise you they know more than you think. They pick up on stuff fast. Good luck.

My aunt has custody of my cousins daughter. She would tell her that mommy and daddy are sick, in a way that only they can fix. As she has gotten a little older she has explained in a little more detail that it was a mental issue but a never went into detail on the drug use. Her bio father passed away a few years ago. She is now 9


Sometimes in life people make really bad choices and being around them can be unhealthy . Daddy & I decided he needed to leave for awhile that he loves us here let’s pray for him and wish him well .

I think it’s a perfect opportunity to teach about forgiveness and proper boundaries. In regards to toxic behavior and what is healthy and unhealthy.

Regardless what is said or done it’s going to hurt the kiddos they notice things even if they don’t talk about it . With our daughter we always talk I bring it up and clarify as much as possible. By saying mommy and daddy decided you are taking part of the blame so it doesn’t look like he just took off. Keep open communication about it always and continue to say the choices daddy is making can get him in a lot of trouble. We don’t want him to get us in trouble so he had to go figure it out himself . Empower the kids by explaining they deserve more and that’s why mommy and daddy had to decide for daddy to go.


Dont mention him unless she does.

Really think being up front with her is best. Daddy made some bad choices, and Daddy is on a long time out.
Butter coating it wont make it easier for neither of you


If he was a good dad before the drugs, don’t say anything negative about him to your child. Drugs can really change someone :frowning: I’m not making excuses for him thoo!! Just let her know Daddy loves her but needs time to himself right now. There’s a great chance he’ll turn his life back around! I’ll be praying for you guys!

I wouldn’t worry about it unless they ask questions. In which case you be honest in a way appropriate for their age. Best of luck and I am sorry you are having to go through this.

Go for full custody and keep your child safe as you are doing but constantly tell her that her Daddy loves her. I’d explain to her that her Daddy is a bit poorly at the moment so he is busy getting himself better so he can be the best Daddy. I’ve been through a similar thing for the past 5years with my little boy and as much as he’s been through he is now a lovely 10year old with the biggest heart. Keep your chin up and stay strong. Pop me a message if you ever want a natter. Good luck

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I’ve been through this twice now… my oldest was 2 when he dad left… now my oldest is 7 and my youngest is 2. And he dad recently left. Although he is still in the picture. So that one is easier. But my youngest, 5 years ago. I just tried to distract her pretty much from it all. It’s hard to explain anything to them that young.

Explain daddy is going through stuff but it’s not her fault

You need to explain that daddy is sick and that in time hopefully he will get better and until then he won’t be around…that’s what I had to tell my son when my dad was an active user and now that he is in recovery he gets it a lot more and can see what I meant by sick

I’ve always been a fan of the truth. Even if they’re young and don’t get it, at least you didn’t lie. They’ll get it one day. Maybe he’ll eventually change for the better 🤷 who knows

Don’t explain anything, she’s way to young to understand. Keep everything that’s said about him short and sweet. The less she knows the better.

The truth when they are old enough to understand so for right now let them know daddy is sick and needs some help and you tell them at an age they will understand

I have always gone with the truth with my kids. I’d make it age appropriate. I divorced because of a phusical/emotional abuse situation. When it happened I told my son what happened and why we are living in a new place. It opens up that trust early on that make it a 2 way street. I’ve always stood behind the truth no matter what. It isn’t harming the child long term for.them to know how people are. Not knowing can be more.damaging in the long run. I’d just sit down with your child, say something like; you may know that daddy isn’t here with us. I know you probably miss him, but here is what happened. Daddy has decided that he wants to live away from us. It doesnt mean you are loved any less. Im fact you are loved more than ever. Daddy is having a hard time right now and needs to be by himself kinda like a time out. Just know that I will never leave you or stop loving you. Things might be tough for a while but we will get through this together. ". Give your kids big Lovings and maybe sit and watch a cartoon or show with them. Nothing horrible is being said to harm their mental state but they knows you will tell them the truth.

You’re better off!! You will realize that :slightly_smiling_face::+1:

Just tell then the truth about the whole situation. Don’t hold back but make sure there old enough to understand everything about you guys lifestyle.

Ok, been there done that!! I told my son tho daddy loved him very much, but he has an illness that prevents him from being w/ us!! As my son got older I explained !!

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You don’t. She’s to young to understand all that. For now just tell her Daddy is sick and is getting help to get better. It may not be true, totally but its better then telling her Daddy left us. When she gets old enough to understand adult situations, then tell her. Hopefully by that time he’ll get his shit together and be a dad even if y’all aren’t together. Just remember, when she’s older she’s going to be making the decision on whether or not she wants to reach out to her dad. Just be loving and supportive and be there for her if it doesn’t go how she wants.
Praying he kicks the drug habit and gets his shit together.

My dad left when i was little and my mom never said anything but hateful things and that made me sad so i asked my grandmother and she always said ur father is ill he is an alcoholic but he was/is sober but still stuck in his disease i never understood that till adulthood but ne ways my point is make sure u point out its not her it is him and thats what my wise grandmother taught me

Just explain daddy’s not feeling well right now and has to get help to get better and when he’s better he’ll call don’t say much more than that and just double hug your child reassure your there and not going anywhere

Actually, a lot of people have been in this situation. She’s only four, so luckily she won’t remember most of this time in the long run. You just calmly explain to her that daddy isn’t going to be living with you anymore. If she asks why, say something along the lines of “daddy got a new far away job” she doesn’t need to know anything more than that at this point. When she’s older and asks what happened, then you can choose to tell her or not.


I told my daughter people make choices and sometimes mistakes that doesn’t mean it’s anyone’s fault but the person who made the choice. Daddy chose to leave that doesn’t mean he doesn’t love u or miss u, or that he is a bad person. sometimes parents can not be “together” and that’s ok. Its ok to miss him and love him but it is not your fault he made his choice. I did not bash him nor tell her how he hit me belittled me cheated lied ect. And now 7 years later she sees her father for who he really is and knows momma was always there even when he was MIA. She loves her father and misses him we talk openly about it but she also sees how he does her baby half sister and step mom. Children need honesty but leave out the gory details. Love them enough for both parents and give them someone that they know is proud loves them and isn’t leaving no matter what. They will learn everything else as they see it. :heartpulse: I wish you all the best! Keep your head up momma you got this!

I’ve been there! I just explain to my daughter on a 4 year old level and about choices. I told her when her dad gets help and he can be kind to others that he can be in our lives. I allow him to spend time with them in a safe environment. I have full custody, he has reasonable visitation. If you want to talk more, you can message me. I’m sending hugs and prayers your way! I also read books to my children about divorce and I reassured her that we love her and that I’ll always be here for her.

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One piece of advice: Do. Not. Bash. Your. Ex. Your daughter will figure it out one day. Let her miss him and feel her feelings. But if you talk badly about the other parent, kids internalize that and think there’s something wrong with themselves. Plus, you will alienate her from being able to discuss her feelings with you. I’m sorry you’re going through this. Been there; done that. Still don’t know why.


tell her the truth daddys sick and he needed time away to get better

Honesty is the key. Everything else will fall in place. Good luck.

I just said sometimes people make the wrong choices and we have to pray for them to do better nothing is their fault people make mistakes

Take your cues from your child. Just answer what she asks as honestly as you can. Keep it very simple.

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You definitely don’t get into the specifics.

Try that on Christmas Eve while bawling your own eyes out. I have no idea what I said.