By Rosalind Sedacca, CDC

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

many things. What may have been routine conversations,

questions or activities can now be touchy subjects. Often, they’re

compounded by 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 a time to master the art of good parent/child communication.

It will help to reinforce or rebuild trust. And it will boost a sense of

security and confidence that things will be okay again – despite

the changes inflicted by your divorce.


Here are 5 solid tips for more effective communication with your

children. Master them today and they will strengthen your intimacy and love

bond for years and years ahead.


Create safety and intimacy when you talk!


Keep your conversations private – 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 and turn off the TV. Let

your child know you are interested in what they are feeling and



Listen more than you lecture to be effective!


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. 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. 1) paraphrase

back what you think you’ve heard. 2) look directly at them, and nod

your head to show you’re listening. 3) then ask if you got the message

right after you’ve repeated it. 4) if not, start again until your child feels

“heard” and acknowledges that.


Avoid shaming, blaming or judging your kids!


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. Just do it without 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. Shame and blame

create a troublesome gap that’s hard to close. You can reject the

behavior without rejecting the child.


Strive for authentic, empathic solutions and life lessons!


Avoid the lectures, the smug ”I told you so’s” and the moralizing

put-downs. That includes 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. Often, it’s a process of give and take. This can be a valuable

life-lesson for them when 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. “Thanks for listening to me so attentively, for not getting

angry, for letting me explain why we can’t do that now.”


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 the founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network, a Divorce & Co-Parenting Coach and author of numerous books, e-courses and programs on divorcing with children and co-parenting successfully. For instant download of her FREE EBOOK on Doing Co-Parenting Right: Success Strategies For Avoiding Painful Mistakes! go to:

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© Rosalind Sedacca  All rights reserved