As a divorced single parent of three, I had an idea that if l were honest with my kids, it would help them. But when I spoke the truth as I saw it, their confused expressions convinced me that sometimes it's just better to fib. Here are seven fibs you'll probably tell your kids:
1. "You don't need to tell me about your mom/dad's new "friend", Pumpkin. They're free to see who they want."
This fib is going to be hard to spit out. The first few times you say it you may find yourself stammering and stuttering. You must soldier on though because it's a fib well worth the effort. Especially when you consider how keeping your kids out of the spy and tell game will benefit them in the long run. They may act as if they want to play for your team, but don't fall for it. Like practically everything else kids will do during this time, it's a test.
2. "The reason I don't have a new "friend" is because I'm choosing to take my time."
Careful with this one; it has an expiration date (one year after your divorce). After your time is up, try this alternative: "A good man/woman is hard to find." And, if you don't want your kids growing up believing they'll have a hard time finding a good mate, there's always this one: "Internet dating blows. I'm going to go at it the old fashioned way." Cross your fingers they don't ask you what that means.
3. "When I use that word before his/her name, it's because I'm endeared to them."
Certain words are bound to erupt out of you. It's going to happen, you're human. The best advice is to counter any sour notes of resentment by rolling them in something sweet.
4. "Endear is a verb, Cupcake. It means your mom/dad and I are close."
It's true, endear is a verb. The fib part is that it may be a stretch to say it means close. Even so, to try and explain what you really mean here would be a mistake. What you mean is, if you didn't care so much about him/her, if you hadn't spent so much time together, if you didn't know their every nuance, you wouldn't be so affected by the things they say and do. These are complicated embellishments to articulate, and in an effort to get your kids to understand, you may find yourself fumbling over your own inability to comprehend. If that does happen though, no worries -- just keep talking until you and your kids get so confused you'll need a gallon of ice cream to thoroughly stuff your feelings.
5. "No, Cookie. Being close doesn't necessarily mean we live together."
Kids are smart cookies. They'll come at you a hundred different ways until they get the answer they want, which as you probably know, is that the divorce has been a bad dream and they'll wake up and discover it never ever happened. We're all kids at heart that way.
6. "Something's wrong with my middle finger. I can't un-straighten it. Yes, Sweetie. Good idea to see a doctor about it."
Of course your kids mean for you to see a medical doctor, but it wouldn't hurt to think about seeing that another kind of doctor. We all need a little assistance now and again. What more appropriate time to ask for help, especially if you find your middle finger spasms escalating.
7. "I miss them too."
You and your kids are in this together. Saying this will emphasize your willingness to be in sync with them. And who knows, there may come a time when you will actually mean it, if you don't already.