By Rosalind Sedacca

During and after divorce your children may be hyper-sensitive aboutmother-and-daughter-150x150
many things. What may have formerly been routine conversations, questions or activities can now be touchy subjects fraught with anxiety, resentment or anger. This is understandable when you consider that the stability of the world they knew has been dramatically altered. Minor insecurities can easily grow into major problems. Children may regress in their behaviors and skills, become more clinging – or more aloof – depending on their
adaptability and perspective about the divorce.

This is a time to master the art of good parent/child communication
so you can reinforce or rebuild trust, security and confidence that
things will be okay again – despite the changes created by your

Here are some solid tips for more effective communication with your
children. Master them today and they will work on your behalf for
years and years ahead.

  •     Keep your conversations private – and at times when others are not
    around. This assures a more relaxed connection, more intimacy and
    safety. Your child is more likely to open up and confide their real
    feelings when they know they have your full attention. That means
    close the computer, put down the phone, turn off the TV and let
    your child know you are interested in what they are feeling and
  •    Listen carefully to get the gist of what they are saying, even if
    you don’t like the message. Don’t interrupt or correct them as they
    speak. You’ll have your turn, but if they don’t feel “heard” you
    are likely not going to have another chance at real communication.
    Here’s where “active listening” skills are a real plus: paraphrase
    back what you think you’ve heard, look directly at them, and nod
    your head to show you’re listening. Then ask if you got the message
    right after you’ve repeated it.
  •     Focus more on what happened rather than “why.” Allow the entire
    story to be told or all their feelings to be shared without jumping
    to judgment. You can still parent, explain your values, and support
    your decisions while not minimizing your child’s right to their own
    “take” on things. Also remind your child that they are loved and
    accepted, despite what they think or may have done. You can reject the
    behavior without rejecting the child.
  •     Avoid the lectures, the smug “I told you so’s,” the moralizing
    put-downs or other forms of embarrassing your children, especially
    if others are around. Instead offer constructive ways to remedy the
    situation when possible. Brainstorm together. Remind your child
    that not all challenges can be neatly resolved or agreed upon by
    all parties. This can be a valuable life-lesson for them when shared
    with empathy, compassion and thoughtfulness.

While it’s often easier to provide negative feedback, try to end  your communication in a positive tone. This will encourage additional conversations and their willingness to confide in you again when things are not going well. Find something you can praise in their behavior or their communication so they feel valued and significant. Remember, divorce imposes changes within the family that your children never asked for. With this awareness in mind you can intentionally deepen your relationship with your children at a time when they need it most!

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Rosalind Sedacca, CCT, is a Divorce & Parenting Mentor, Founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network and author of How Do I Tell the Kids About the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide to Preparing Your Children — With Love!  For Rosalind’s free ebook on Post-Divorce Parenting: Success Strategies For Getting It Right!, her coaching services and valuable resources on divorce and parenting issues, go to: //

© Rosalind Sedacca  All rights reserved.