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WINFREY: So, if you're a parent in the midst of a divorce,

or even if you have been divorced for years,

we have an urgent message for you today,

because if you don't know how to talk to your children

about your divorce in the right way,

and there is a right way and a very, very wrong way,

they're gonna feel a heavy burden.

They're gonna internalize it, and they will blame themselves,

always. I invited an expert back to our show who I believe has

the best, most specific advice for families who are going

through or living with the aftermath of divorce, Gary Neuman.

We're glad to have you back.

[APPLAUSE]

M GARY NEUMAN: Thank you.

WINFREY: And so, over the years you say that, you know,

we've seen a lot bad divorces, and one of the worst things

parents do is criticize each other in the process, right?

Mr. NEUMAN: Absolutely, yes.

Yes, when they badmouth each other, it causes them to question

if they can love both each other. Kids should be able to love

both parents, and if you say something bad about the other

person, they feel disloyal to you if they actually love the

other person. And they should never

have to make that kind of choice.

WINFREY: So that's one of the biggest mistakes?

Mr. NEUMAN: That's the biggest complaint that I get from

kids, is putting down the other parent like that.

WINFREY: Okay, so you know many families unravel after an

affair. Gary spent time with 11-year-old Daisy and her

7-year-old brother Kris who have a lot of feelings about

their family's breakup.

Mr. NEUMAN: So what happened when they were married?

DAISY, 11: They were nice.

They were, like, nice and everything.

And then they-- she started to cheat on him and everything.

She introduced me to him once.

Mr. NEUMAN: She introduced you to the guy?

DAISY: Uh-huh. Mr. NEUMAN: To the boyfriend?

DAISY: Mm-hmm. Or guy or what-I don't know if he's a

boyfriend or whatnot.

Mr. NEUMAN: Whatever.

But that-so that must have been very weird.

DAISY: Oh, yeah.

Mr. NEUMAN: Did he ask you to lie to dad

about a boyfriend or something like that?

DAISY: Yeah, he said that-she would say that, we just went

somewhere. She tells us just to say, we just went to, like,

a store or something, and we actually went to go see her

boyfriend or somebody.

Mr. NEUMAN: So you're-how are you feeling then?

You're feeling prettyyeah.

KRIS, 7: I was feeling really sad and very mad.

Mr. NEUMAN: Mad about what?

KRIS: I don't want her to have a boyfriend,

'cause she was already married.

DAISY: It's not right to be with another

person when you're married. KRIS: Mm-hmm.

Mr. NEUMAN: Did you ever tell mom?

DAISY: What? No, of course.

KRIS: Yeah, I told her once or twice.

Mr. NEUMAN: What did she say, Kris?

KRIS: She said, I don't care.

Mr. NEUMAN: So, can you tell me about that knowing that,

you know, this is going on and that you're gonna be a part

of it or know about it and stuff? Gosh.

DAISY: Yeah, I don't really wanna be a part of it or anything.

I don't really wanna have anything to do with my mom.

Mr. NEUMAN: Because you're that angry?

DAISY: Oh, yeah, and then my dad said if I don't talk about

stuff like this, that I might explode one day and everything.

Not like (makes noise).

Mr. NEUMAN: Yeah, I hope your head won't blow off.

KRIS: Bye-bye arm.

Mr. NEUMAN: Yes-no, I don't think that.

DAISY: Yeah.

Mr. NEUMAN: What does he mean, explode?

DAISY: Like

KRIS: Explode your feelings.

DAISY: Yeah. There you go.

That's a good way to put it, Kris.

Mr. NEUMAN: Very good. Do you miss your mom?

KRIS: No. She's very rude, so I don't-I want a nicer mother

if I ever do get another mother.

Mr. NEUMAN: Mm-hmm. You're still sad, I guess,

that she's decided to not be here, right?

KRIS: Yep. Mr. NEUMAN: Yeah. What's making you sad now?

What are you thinking about?

KRIS: About this one day once when we went to daddy and

Mr. NEUMAN: Yeah, and what happened, sweetie?

KRIS: My mother went away, and I don't want her to go away.

Mr. NEUMAN: You didn't want mom to go away, huh?

That makes sense.

That's a sad- it's very sad to see her go away.

Did you think you'd see her again?

Have you seen her since then?

So even though you're mad at her, you still wish that she

would come back and be a good mom, huh?

Tell me, Kris, a little, tell me about that.

Tell me what you really wish your mom would do.

KRIS: Be a mother-be a nice mother and a very good mother.

And never have a boyfriend again.

WINFREY: Now we're all crying but...

[LAUGHTER]

WINFREY: ...it's okay. Daisy and Kris say they haven't seen

their mother in over two years, in over two years.

You're doing a good job. That was really brave of you.

Wasn't that brave of him, audience?

GROUP, AUDIENCE: Yeah.

[APPLAUSE]

WINFREY: And so brave of Daisy, so brave of Daisy who's taking

on the mother role for him at 11 years old.

So brave of both of you. You know,

you speak to lots of other kids out there who...

[APPLAUSE]

WINFREY: ...feel exactly the same way you do.

Lots of other kids are hurting exactly the same way you are,

and you had the courage to say it on national television.

And so, a lot of kids feel this way.

How can Jim-what can he do to help them?

Mr. NEUMAN: Well, first of all, understand that when you

see all the sadness, we shouldn't be depressed about it.

We should be upset if they don't express this.

That's what it's all about here.

WINFREY: Yeah.

Mr. NEUMAN: If he doesn't get this out, if they don't do this,

imagine how numb, and what has to happen to them internally.

WINFREY: What happens is, especially for young boys,

you know, girls become depressed

and young boys take these feelings

Mr. NEUMAN: Flatline, numb it out.

WINFREY: Flatline, and then have rage later on.

Mr. NEUMAN: Yeah.

WINFREY: They are enraged.

That's why you see so many enraged young boys and men.

It's because they are not allowed to express their feelings.

Mr. NEUMAN: So the most important part of being a parent

is we have to remember- I get calls and e-mails all the

time about, you know, what's the script?

What do I say exactly to my kid?

And what we have to remember is that we heal through

love and connection. That's the magic of being human.

If we all think back to something that's happened to us

personally, we got through it, and we felt better just because

somebody talked to us.

WINFREY: Mm-hmm.

Mr. NEUMAN: So the most important thing is,

take the pressure off of yourself as a parent to say just

the right words. It's the feeling. It's looking at these

kids and saying, gosh, I know it hurts.

It makes sense that it's sad. And I wish I could do something

different. But we're a family and we're gonna get through this.

And you can tell dad, he's strong enough, he's big enough.

Look at this guy. He is really broad-shouldered, okay?

[LAUGHTER]

Mr. NEUMAN: He's there for you. And you can tell him anything.

And that's the point. You just have to let them know that you

get them, you really get them and understand them.

JIM: Some of this, you know, just seeing the tape and stuff,

I try to talk to them and tell them to come help, you know,

talk to me about it if they ever want to and everything else.

And this is the first time I've seen it from him,

and then it's disturbing.

Mr. NEUMAN: You bring up a great point, that many parents say,

well, I said to my kid, if you ever have a problem,

just come find me, come talk to me. That's too intense.

You-we know how kids feel somewhat.

So we need to go to them and say, you know something?

I know this time is hard. Your mom's not here.

I know it must be sad for you.

Assume the feeling, and they'll come out with it.

Some parents are afraid, well, if I say that,

maybe they're not really sad and I'm going to bring up

something that they're not feeling. Ridiculous.

They're feeling it inside. You're not putting it on them.

So go to them. WINFREY: Ridiculous because what I learned,

when you were here many years ago, kids are-first of all,

they have, like, little vibrational antenna.

Mr. NEUMAN: Yes. WINFREY: They're feeling it even when you

don't think they're feeling it

Mr. NEUMAN: Yes.

WINFREY: ...and they know something is going on even when

you think they don't know, when you haven't spoken about it.

And the thing about their little vibrational antenna,

because you're a kid, the whole world revolves around you,

and you think then it's your fault.

That whatever went wrong was because of something you did.

WINFREY: Well, like I said, children often blame themselves

after divorce. They can also hold a secret belief that

they can somehow fix things. Here's more of Gary's

candid conversation with Kris and Daisy.

Mr. NEUMAN: What's it like to be hurt?

I mean, what's it like to feel hurt when she says,

I'm gonna meet you?

DAISY: And she doesnt?

Mr. NEUMAN: And she doesn't. I mean thats...

DAISY: It makes me feel sad and everything.

Like, I try to, like, put perfume on so she'll think

I smell pretty, and then I try to, like, put little

lipstick on- -not like dark lipstick, but light lipstick,

so she'll think I look pretty too.

And then I try to put my hair up,

even though I don't like putting it up.

Mr. NEUMAN: 'Cause if you do that

DAISY: She'll-she might come back.

Mr. NEUMAN: And it doesn't work?

DAISY: Nope. I don't think it does. No, it doesn't work.

Mr. NEUMAN: So, what do you, so-how do you-what do you

say to yourself in your head when that doesn't work?

DAISY: I say, darn it. Why not? I try and I try,

and I keep failing. Mr. NEUMAN: Do you think there is

anything you could have done about it, Kris?

KRIS: I used to go on my knees and give her puppy eyes.

And it used to work. This time, it didn't work.

Mr. NEUMAN: Yeah. You feel like you couldn't make it-couldn't

make her stick around, huh?

KRIS: Mm-hmm.

Mr. NEUMAN: So do you feel sometimes it-that you could have

done something else to

KRIS: Mm-hmm.

Mr. NEUMAN: What do you think about?

KRIS: I thought I could buy her something,

'cause I usually take the laundry out and stuff.

So-I used to get an allowance for it.

And then I got enough money to buy her a fake ring.

It could fit her finger. And I went, dad, can I buy this?

And dad said, I'll think about it.

Mr. NEUMAN: Have you thought maybe if you buy her the ring,

maybe she'd stay?

KRIS: Mm-hmm.

Mr. NEUMAN: Did you ever buy the ring?

KRIS: Yeah. But she didn't want it.

And it didn't make her come back.

Mr. NEUMAN: Well, in the past, you've heard me say never

criticize the other parent, because when you criticize the

other parent, you criticize your child's DNA.

Here's an example where we break that cardinal rule.

You see, children in these circumstances,

we cannot have them feeling that they are somewhat

responsible for the rejection from the parent

who has abandoned them.

So that's the time that we have to say to our children,

it is wrong as a parent not to be there for your child.

And we explain to them that sometimes physical trauma,

bruises and broken bones you can see--sometimes people

have problems in their mind, and it limits them,

and it stops parents from giving the love that children

deserve. You guys are huggable enough, you are lovable enough.

You should have--that's a good smile.

WINFREY: You are pretty enough.

Mr. NEUMAN: Yeah.

WINFREY: You are pretty enough.

Mr. NEUMAN: You smell well enough.

[LAUGHTER]

Mr. NEUMAN: Your dad is here because you guys are terrific

and you deserve to have two parents.

And if you have this one, that's gonna be good enough.

You did not make her go away,

and you cannot make her come back.

WINFREY: Well, Gary asked Daisy to write a letter to her mom

expressing her feelings. It's important to get the feelings

out, whether or not her mother ever gets the letter or not.

Mr. NEUMAN: Right. It's that expression.

We must get that across. Regardless of who it goes to,

the expression itself is healing.

WINFREY: Okay. Will you read it for us?

DAISY: Yeah. WINFREY: Okay.

DAISY: Dear mom, I miss you so much.

I wish you were here for our girls' day out where we went

shopping and got our nails done. I miss baking

WINFREY: Let me read it. Let me read it for you, okay?

You're doing good, but let me read it.

It's okay if I read it? Okay.

I miss baking cookies as a family and you helping

us do our homework. I still love you, mom, but what you did

in the past makes me not love you so much like I used to.

I just wish the divorce never happened and you never did

what you did. Daddy always says it's never my fault that you

left, but sometimes I think it is.

I know someday, you will regret it, and I hope you've

learned your lesson. Love, Daisy.

PS, I do love you deep down inside, and sometimes I love you

so much that I can't hide it. Really well done.

DAISY: Thank you.

WINFREY: Really well done. Really well done.

Mr. NEUMAN: Very well done.

WINFREY: And so do you think Kris is old enough

to write a letter?

Mr. NEUMAN: He is.

WINFREY: Yeah. Want me to read it? Okay.

Dear mommy, I love you. Why can't we be together?

Why don't you want to see me? When I think of you

and daddy not living together, I feel so sad.

I do not understand why you got divorced.

Sometimes I dream about dad being sad

about not having you around.

I wish that you didn't get a divorce.

Love, Kris. Very good letter.

KRIS: Thank you.

Mr. NEUMAN: See, kids wanna feel

WINFREY: Very good letter.

Mr. NEUMAN: Kids wanna feel responsible for the divorce,

'cause they think that that gives them some sense of control,

that I can make them come back and do something like that.

WINFREY: Right.

Mr. NEUMAN: But they do.

These--I know it doesn't look like they feel better

at the moment, but the experience of being able to get

it out and connect with you about it finally--tomorrow

and the next day, they're gonna walk lighter

and that sparkle in their eye is gonna be back more and more.

WINFREY: Yeah. It doesn't mean the pain will go away.

Mr. NEUMAN: Right.

WINFREY: And it doesn't mean that they still won't want

their mother to come back.

Mr. NEUMAN: Correct.

WINFREY: But at least it releases some of that burden.

Do you feel a little better, Daisy?

DAISY: Mm-hmm. WINFREY: Do you think you feel a little better?

DAISY: Yeah. WINFREY: Do you?

KRIS: Mm-hmm.

WINFREY: Okay. You don't have to say it if you don't.

Maybe you'll feel a little better tomorrow.

Feel a little better.

Well, thank you, Jim. Thank you for

JIM: Thank you.

WINFREY: ...for trying to do the right thing.

Thank you for continuing to communicate with your children.

And I think this experience has let you know that, you know,

the way to do it is when you're doing other things,

and not just let's now sit down and have a talk,

or not expect them to come to you

Mr. NEUMAN: Right.

WINFREY: ...and start the conversation.

Yeah, 'cause it's too heavy a burden for them.

It's too much for them.

Yeah.

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