One of the most difficult things about going through a divorce can be talking to your kids about it. However, experts stress the importance of communicating often with your children to foster a healthy, trusting relationship. It also allows your children to voice their concerns throughout the divorce process.
Of course, while most parents would love to have their children open up about their feelings about the divorce, many aren't quite sure how to begin the conversation. As many parents know, kids don't always respond following a request of "let's talk."
Luckily, a recent article from the Huffington Post provided several tips for engaging in more productive communication with your kids. Here are a few of the tips, summarized:
Know how to ask. Instead of giving your kids the third-degree, let them move into talking about their feelings by keeping the dialogue open. it is also very helpful to validate their right to their feelings, even if they are difficult to hear about.
Don't forget to listen. Although it comes natural to want to provide advice and "parent" your children when they are voicing concerns, sometimes it's best to just listen and paraphrase back what you are hearing. This way, the child knows he or he is being heard.
Be careful not to judge. Although a divorce can be an extremely stressful time, refrain from putting down your children or their other parent. By giving respect, you will get respect. It is also important to show your children that no matter what, they are loved.
Using these steps, parents can set the stage for open communication and hopefully get a better understanding of how their kids are being affected by the divorce.
Source: Huffington Post, "Keep Talking to Your Kids after Divorce," Rosalind Sedacca, April 13, 2012