Communicating With Your Child Throughout the Divorce
Key Points
  • Divorce is difficult enough, neither parent should be hindering communication with the child. Children need to know they are being heard and the best way to do that is to treat the child with respect by listening to the child when the child is talking.
  • In a divorce a parent should never criticize the other when talking to the child; be aware of your body language as well - rolling your eyes, crossing your arms with a scowl on your face. These types of gestures are unwarranted.
  • Do not threaten your child when you are having a conversation. Your child may say things they do not mean because they are hurting, stay calm, try to talk through it but threatening your child will only make matters worse.

It is important to have good communication with your child. Remember to be as open as possible, which will reinforce and even enhance your trust for one another. Many parents find that they communicate better during divorce and/or separation because it is the first time in a while that they were forced to have meaningful conversations. This is not necessarily the reason in every case, but divorce and/or separation can create a stronger parent-child bond. Communicating effectively with your child actually gives him or her the sense of greater responsibility and respect. In conversation, be sure to listen and allow your child to express his or her own opinions.

Strategies and Tactics to Improve or Continue Good Communication:

  • Pick a place where you both feel comfortable.
  • Never criticize the other parent in conversation. This includes all body gestures, like the rolling of the eyes or shrugging.
  • Stay calm when things get a little heated and avoid quick irrational responses.
  • Never use threats or ultimatums.
  • Stay on the topic of conversation. If another issue comes up, write it down and discuss it at a later time.
  • Look, don't just listen, for your response. Facial Expressions are as telling as words.
  • Do not interrupt your child.
  • Do not talk down to your child as if he or she does not understand.
  • - Avoid saying, "If you were older you would know what I am talking about", because your child will interpret this as your excuse for being wrong.

Useful Online Tools

Suggested Reading
Creating a Successful Parenting Plan Creating a Successful Parenting Plan
This extraordinary book and computer disk offers separating or divorcing parents a sure-fire way to create a workable, practical parenting plan/agreement that is in the best interest of their children.

Author: Jayne A. Major, Ph.D.

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