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Kid-Friendly Divorce TalkDivorce does not destroy families; it simply provides a new lens to view a family through. Divorce dissects a family and brings to the forefront the true connections and relationships that exist in the family unit. If you have noticed your child has a hard time talking about their feelings, has become isolated, or has become prone to tantrums, then you should look at the family communication lines.

Communication is the biggest relationship-building tool, and it should be kept in good working condition at the risk of shutting down all together. Not to be too alarming, but communication is a child’s basis for relationships; if the communication is lacking in childhood, then adulthood relationships aren’t looking too great either.

So what can you do? Well, for starters you can begin to show your child how to openly communicate today. Communication is all about the little things, so let’s give you a run-down of the little communication helpers and how they are important. This list should make you more aware of how you’re communicating with your child, and how to improve the communication lines.

A Very Good Place to Start

The best place to start is at the beginning of your family’s new lens: Divorce. The divorce talk with your children ideally should take place together, as an entire family, and sometime before you actually file for divorce. This talk should have been outlined beforehand with you and your soon-to-be-ex; if you think this is odd, remember that divorce doesn’t erase parenthood, it just erases the spouse part.

Presumably, you and your spouse discussed how to raise your children and how to parent in certain circumstances, and divorce really shouldn’t interrupt that process. By talking to your children together, as the parents they’ve always known and loved, you are conveying that divorce will not disrupt the parental love and guidance they currently receive.

Got a Sec?

No matter how well the divorce talk went, you can’t just tell kids about an impending divorce and never expect to hear about it again. Then again, you don’t want to start addressing your children like they are emotionally unstable and perpetually on the verge of tears. So how do you interact with your children now? They’re the same children, and you’re the same parent, so hopefully you won’t be acting too different if you consider these little tips:

  • Always be available. Children are notorious for interrupting parents, but parents should never ignore or shut a child down. To promote and keep communication lines open, whenever your child comes to you, give them your full attention; that means turning off (or pausing) the movie, putting down the book, or looking away from the computer screen. This lets your child know you genuinely care about their feelings and what they have to stay.
  • Value their ideas and feelings. If an adult had an important matter to discuss, you would make sure you were in a private place, and were accepting of their ideas and feelings. Treat your child’s topics as equally important and worthy. So make sure you’re in a private space to have a conversation, and listen to everything they have to say. Also, never cut in, interrupt, or discredit their feelings. Note: Laughing off something your child considers serious is not a nice way to wrap up a talk.

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