The legal process of a divorce is to help spouses end their relationship as smoothly as possible. However, the last thing that either spouse wants is for their relationship with their children to dissipate as well. Divorce is difficult for both parents and children and it can cause strain in a family’s relationships.
Here are some important tips for North Carolina parents on how to communicate with their children after divorce:
Don’t: Speak ill of the other parent
Fresh after a divorce, the emotions of bitterness, anger and grief are still strong. These emotions can often lead individuals to speak ill of their ex-spouse, but it is important to avoid doing so in front of the children.
Even if they suspect the other parent is speaking ill about them, it is critical to refrain from doing the same. Children are perceptive, and they will notice how each parent talks about the other.
Do: Be there for the children
It is critical for parents to watch what they say about the other parent in front of their kids, but it is more important for them to make sure their children can talk to them about anything, especially during this time of change after divorce.
Parents can make it clear that they are there for their children by:
- Voicing their love and support
- Being available by cellphone
- Checking in regularly with their kids
- Being honest with their children
Don’t: Take a child’s anger personally
All children react differently to their parents’ divorces. They might be confused, angry and even frightened, and these emotions do not simply disappear after the divorce is finalized. While they cope with the ways their life has changed, it is common for kids to lash out at their parents.
Most of the time, this is not personal. It is children working through their emotions as they grow accustomed to the new normal.
Do: Make sure to listen
Communication is two-sided. It is almost more important to listen than it is to speak, especially in these cases. Children of all ages want to feel heard. It is helpful to ask them how they are feeling and really take the time to listen.