By Rosalind Sedacca, CDC


During and after divorce your children may be hyper-sensitive about

many things. What may have formerly been routine conversations,

questions or activities can now be touchy subjects fraught with

anxiety, resentment or ager. 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.

Some become more clinging – others more aloof – depending on their

adaptability and perspective about the divorce.


This is the time to focus on good parent/child communication.

You can reinforce or rebuild trust, security and confidence that

things will be okay again – despite the changes inflicted 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 – at times when others are not around.

This assures a 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. 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 big plus. So 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 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.

Be mindful about other forms of embarrassing or shaming your children,

especially if others are around. 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, shared

with empathy, compassion and insight.


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 these thoughts in mind

you’ll deepen your relationship with your children at a time when

they need it most!


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Rosalind Sedacca, CDC, is a Divorce & Co-Parenting Coach and Founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network for parents. She’s also the author of the internationally-acclaimed ebook, 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! and valuable resources on divorce and parenting issues, go to:

© Rosalind Sedacca  All rights reserved.