Parent/Child Communication – Even More Crucial After Divorce!

Parent/Child Communication – Even More Crucial After Divorce!

By Rosalind Sedacca, CDC

It’s no secret that one of the biggest challenges a parent faces after divorce is staying in good communication with your children. Obviously all parents struggle with communication issues as their children grow, but children who have had their lives dramatically altered by separation or divorce need even more attention – and diligent observation by their parents.

Children tend not to tell you when they are angry, resentful, confused, hurt or depressed. Instead they reflect their problems through their behavior – acting out or perhaps turning inward in ways that you have not experienced prior to the divorce.

Here are some tips that most all professionals agree about as ways to encourage positive and productive communication between you and your children. Many of these are obvious or innate behaviors. However, others can easily be forgotten amid the challenges you are juggling in your own life on a daily basis.

Take time to see the world through your children’s eyes and you will be better able to meet their needs, understand their confusion or aggression and find appropriate ways to resolve tension and heal hurts through your conversation and caring behaviors.

·     Be available and attentive when your child comes to you to talk or ask questions. That means turning off the TV, putting down the tablet, not answering the phone and giving them eye-contact and a welcoming smile. Sometimes attempting to talk to you is the result of considerable thought and risk on their part. Encourage these conversations when they happen.

·     It is helpful to sit, kneel or in other ways get down closer to your child’s level when you talk. Towering over them is a form of intimidation that does not translate into safety or trust.

·     Keep your conversations private unless they want to include others. Let them know they are safe in confiding to you and that you are interested and care about matters that concern them.

·     Don’t dismiss a subject lightly if it is one bothering your child. Laughing, joking or teasing will create alienation that ultimately will discourage your child to share what is bothering them with you. This is a dangerous road to travel, especially as your children develop into their teen years.

·     Equally important is to never embarrass your children or put them on the spot in front of others. This will immediately close the door to honest, trustworthy communication.

·     Avoid talking to your child when you are angry or upset with them or others. Promise to talk in a half-hour or hour at a specific place after you’ve had a chance to settle down and regain your objectivity.

·      Be an active listener. Don’t interrupt while your child is talking. Listen carefully and then paraphrase back what you heard them say. Ask if you’re right in your interpretation. They’ll tell you. This give and take will   help you more precisely understand what is really at issue.

·     Asking why can be intimidating and close off your conversation. Instead ask what happenedquestions, which keep the dialogue open.

·     Be patient. Don’t react or respond until you get the full message. Sometimes it takes some meandering for your child to reach the crucial point of what they want to say. Don’t shut them off too soon!

·     Remember that lecturing, preaching, moralizing or “parenting” comments can put up barriers to clear communication. Listening is your most valuable skill and tool.

·     Catch your judgments and put-downs, even when confronted with upsetting information. Don’t belittle your children, call them names or insult their behaviors. Talk tothem – not at them! The difference is felt as respect.

·     Acknowledge your children for coming to you. Praise their braveness. If you were at fault, apologize honestly and discuss how you can make changes for the future.

·     Show that you accept and love them – even if their behaviors were not acceptable. Then help them come up with some acceptable solutions they can understand and feel good about.

Children who feel safe talking to their parents grow up as better communicators overall. They will be more likely to have healthy communication in their own adult relationships – with their spouses and children.

Families that keep feelings repressed, that don’t discuss issues that come up, send the message that it’s not all right to talk about things that bother us. The consequences of this can be seen in our nightly news headlines every day.

You can open the doors to caring communication in your home by beginning today. Your children may be a little resistant at first as they test the waters, but they will surely appreciate this opportunity once they know you are sincere. Start the process yourself – and see how valuable it is to “hear” what your children have to say!

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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 and e-courses 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: childcentereddivorce.com/book

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© Rosalind Sedacca   All rights reserved.

5 Reasons Why A Rebound Relationship May Be Just What You Need

5 Reasons Why A Rebound Relationship May Be Just What You Need

Guest Post by Terry Gaspard

As a newly divorced woman with two school age children, I plunged into a rebound relationship with someone who provided solace, companionship, and emotional and sexual intimacy. Since neither one of us had healed sufficiently from our recent divorces, the relationship ended after six months.

While we weren’t ready for a commitment, my ex-boyfriend helped me overcome my challenging divorce and gave me self-confidence. This relationship helped me to get over my anger at my ex-spouse and move on with my life. It was a good opportunity for me to test out dating someone very different from my ex and allowed me to have fun and feel passion.

Truth be told, most experts believe that if you are newly divorced, you probably aren’t ready to leap headlong into a romantic relationship. The chance of a rebound relationship having long-term potential is slim because it will take time for you to heal from your breakup so that you don’t bring baggage into your new relationship.

However, even though here are many reasons why rebound relationships rarely last, they can serve a purpose. There are certain situations when dating soon after divorce can be beneficial.

In my case, my rebound relationship was a reminder that I was desirable and capable of having passionate feelings that had been dormant for many years. What I learned was that it was okay to let go of my past; and give myself the pleasure and joy of new love.

On the down side, while most rebound relationships don’t do any permanent harm, they can postpone the recovery process. In other words, escaping by means of a rebound relationship can prevent you from gaining self-awareness about the reasons your marriage ended and the lessons you need to learn from it.

Consequently, getting involved in a rebound relationship can be a risky proposition. If you’re feeling lonely after divorce, it’s easy to fall for someone before you’re truly ready to begin dating again. It makes sense to explore the reasons why rebound relationships should be avoided. On the other hand, dating several different people casually can give you the opportunity to figure out what type of partner you need to thrive.

Trying out new relationships can be less risky if both partners are honest with each other about their goals; and don’t see the partnership as long-term. If you decide to start dating within the first year after your divorce, do your best to have an open conversation with your new partner about your objectives and attempt to have realistic expectations of yourself and others. 

5 reasons why a rebound relationship may be right for you:

  1. It can help you ease the transition from married to single life. But it’s only true if both parties go into the relationship with realistic expectations – knowing the boundaries and the other person’s intentions.
  2. It can provide solace, companionship, and intimacy. Newly separated and divorced people are usually feeling pretty lonely so you’re probably not ready to engage in a long-term relationship. But a fling may be just what you need to help you recover.
  3. It can help you select a partner who is a good match for you. Many people end up picking a partner who has similar characteristics to their ex-spouse. Consequently, you may need to date several people before you find someone who is a good match for you. You can also figure out what you don’t want.
  4. It can give you self-confidence and help you feel more desirable. A breakup can temporarily damage yourself-esteemand it’s important to build your confidence before you enter a committed relationship again.
  5. Sometimes a rebound relationship works out! In certain cases, especially if you are over 30 and know what you want, a rebound relationship may be fertile ground for a successful long-term relationship.

Some experts would argue that a rebound relationship is a good way to give the newly divorced person a boost of endorphins (to elevate their mood) and to increase their self-esteem. Further, a new relationship can help someone cope with a variety of emotions including confusion, anxiety, anger, regret, betrayal, and sadness.

If you go into a rebound relationship with your eyes wide open, you stand a better chance of recovering more quickly if it ends badly. You’re also less likely to repeat any dating disasters. Being cautious as you proceed into the dating world post-divorce will serve you well in the long-run!

Follow Terry on Twitter, Facebook, and, movingpastdivorce.com. Terry’s award-winning book Daughters of Divorce: Overcome the Legacy of Your Parents’ Breakup and Enjoy a Happy, Long-Lasting Relationship is available on her website.