Divorce Diary: A child’s eye view on discipline

“Nanny”, the 4 year old says, “I have something important to tell you.”

A collective intake of breath was audible. You never quite know what they are going to come out with, do you? Is it going to be something related to which food groups were consumed at lunch today, or is it going to be something from that conversation she overheard when you thought she was sound asleep in the back of the car but was actually pretending?

“You know we are moving house?” Nanny nods.

“well Mummy is going to have one house and Daddy is going to have a different house.”. It’s ok, this isn’t new news… well it was until she announced it to the man in Sainsbury’s in front of the (still current) Mother-in-law. It certainly took away any anxiety over how we would tell the family.

“It’s not that Mummy and Daddy won’t love each other any more”, another anxiety laid to rest. “it’s just that they won’t live together, and me and my brother will have two bedrooms.”.

She smiled, “I am very excited”.

“That’s good”, Nanny said, clearly amused. Our daughter continued; “The thing is, Nanny…” breath is back to being held. “I think it will be better” Oh God, blood pressure up again, how has a 4 year old come to that conclusion?

“If I am naughty at Mummy’s house and she is not very happy with me, and she tells me off…” I think I can see where this is going.

“…then I will just phone Daddy and go over to his house and he won’t know that I have been naughty and he won’t tell me off!”. She looked very pleased with herself.

“Mummy and Daddy will sill speak to each other,” my wife interjected with some realism unfortunate to the mind of a naughty girl.

“Oh” she said. “Well I’m still excited that I get two bedrooms”.

James Cole

James Cole is the Group Editor for Sailfin Magazines and oversees our titles and content creation. He's literally the person who dots our 'i's and crosses our 't's across our Home and Garden Magazine section, our Family and Parenting Magazine, our Life & Wellbeing Magazine, Our Travel and Tourism Magazine, and our Business and Work sections.


  1. I find this article extremely incorrect. The effects on divorce on children are devastating and the lack of recognition of them despite significant research is worrying. This article is almost promoting divorce, while a 4 year old may not understand the reality of the situation and however amicable her parents divorce is, the effects will still hit. Children of divorce do ALL suffer, do all miss out to a degree on a family model and deserve support and intervention at an appropriate age. The tone of this article angers me, in this day and age with such high divorce rates we should not be promoting it and ignoring the horrific effects it has on our children.

    1. Dear Hollie,

      This article is merely an honest account of a real-life conversation. I don’t see any promotion of divorce within it, just an example of how a 4 year old has processed the information thus far.

      The effects of divorce on children are very significant and can be devastating. As can the effects on children of parents remaining in a non-loving relationship ‘for the sake of the children’.

      Children of divorce as you call them, which is not a term I’m particularly comfotable with, are all affected, but I do not believe that they all ‘suffer’. They undergo a transformation from one family model to another family model (unless you are suggesting that there is only one model?)

      I can see your anger, and would ask that maybe you take time to write a full article for Family and Parenting, explain your background, the context to which you are referring, and set out your views, and feelings. All views are very welcome and other opinions are also available.

      Please email james.cole@familyandparenting.co.uk

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