A Healthy Divorce:

Keeping Communication Lines Open with Your Children to Ease the Pain

African American mother whispering to her daughterRemember to Talk to and Listen to Your Children if You Want a Healthy Divorce

Children may have a hard time coping with divorce, although they may not be able to tell you how they are handling it. Preoccupied parents often don't realize their kids are feeling anxious and confused, and may forget to take time to talk to the kids about the changes that are taking place. You can save the children a lot of trouble if you talk with them, answer their questions and erase their confusion about what's happening. A healthy divorce works for everyone.

Effective parenting often boils down to regular communication, especially during times of change and crisis. Regular communication with the kids is what it takes to have a healthy divorce. Don't leave them out. But do talk with them on their developmental level. Not over or under their heads.

Children of divorcing parents typically need a lot of support and encouragement.

That support may be easier to give than you may think. It's not just what you say to your kids, or even how you say it, that counts . . . it's keeping communication lines open!

Yes, it's easy to become preoccupied during a complicated divorce, but remember to keep talking to your children . . . and listening . . . that's what effective parents do!

With a little extra attention, care and concern, you can have a healthy divorce, too, and your kids will recover much more quickly and fully.

African American mother and daughter sticking their tongue out at the mirror on a motorcycleA Healthy Divorce Means Reassuring the Children

A Healthy Divorce Works for Everyone

Keep These Communication Tips in Mind

  1. Saying "I love you" is not enough, but it's a good place to start. Never assume that your child knows how much you love him or her. Say it - and say it often, loudly, and clearly. Your relationship will prosper.
  2. Find different words to express or convey your love. For example, when you or your child is away, tell him/her you miss him/her. Say you can't wait to see them again.
  3. Tell your child what he/she means to you. Speak from your heart. Don't hold back.
  4. Use hopeful and uplifting language with your child. Speak positively. Avoid criticizing, blaming and complaining types of communication. An encouraging parenting style will work wonders.
  5. Begin and end every serious conversation on a positive note.
  6. Be affectionate with words and touch. Even teenagers like to be touched - as long as you don't embarrass them in front of their friends!
  7. Encourage your child to express his/her thoughts and feelings openly (remember to avoid judging or criticizing). Listen to what your child says and be thankful for what your child shares with you. Always express your gratitude, even if your child tells you something you don't want to hear. This will help to ensure your child's continued communication and keep your relationship going strong.
  8. Encourage your child's individuality and uniqueness. Comment constructively on the attributes that make your child different. Be comfortable with the differences between your children.
  9. Accept his or her views or ideas even when you don't agree with them. Let your child know you hear what they are saying.
  10. Every time you are with your child, ask yourself what you can say or do to help your child feel better or to make him/her smile. This will ease the pain of divorce for your child.
  11. Demonstrate your love and loyalty; never let your child feel you don't love him/her. Remember: actions speak louder than words. Walk the talk.
  12. Reassure your child that no matter what happens you will ALWAYS be there for him/her. Then make it happen. Don't allow your divorce to manifest as a form of abandonment to your child.

You can have a healthy divorce, by employing these twelve communication strategies, you will comfort your child and ease their fears. Most importantly, you will keep your relationship strong through the hard times to come.

The same mother and daughter hugging in the middle of a brick street.A Healthy Divorce Makes a Child's Life Better. You must Keep the Children Informed and Aware.

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