Communication Tips

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Why are my children reacting differently?

Different children, different ways of coping

If you have more than one child remember that each child has their own experience of the divorce. Allow each child to express how they feel and help the children to understand that they are to respect each others feelings.

What is parental alienation?

Your role in parental alienation

If you find your children are being alienated from you ask yourself what role you are playing in this. Often the parent who is being alienated has allowed the communication between themselves and their children to go through the alienating parent. If this is the case then you must learn to communicate directly with your children and all professionals in their lives. Your children will come to view you as a parent and not a peer when they know that each parent is in charge.

I can´t believe what my child said happened, who do I call?

Communication Is Important

If you and your ex are unable to carry on a civil conversation, you may need to find other ways to communicate information such as through letters or notes. If it is a very hostile situation that could end up in court, be sure to make copies of all your written communications to have as evidence should you need it. Some people have to communicate solely through lawyers, which is sad because the two adults are acting worse than a couple of two-year olds fighting over the same toy, except it is a child. If the other spouse insists upon acting like a child, then you need to be the grown-up and, by example, teach the other parent how to communicate. Set a good example for your children and exhibit some maturity in handling your side of the situation. Show them the right way to handle negative situations, not the wrong way, which is stooping to the other parent's level. Respect yourself even if your ex doesn't show you any.

We can´t talk without fighting, how can I say what needs to be said?

How to communicate without talking

If you cannot speak to your ex-spouse, try writing. When you write make sure you stay on the point, do not use accusations or insults. Send your letter 24 hours after you have written it, and make sure to read it again before sending. When you write, pretend that it will be read by your children or a Judge, as this may happen.

Why does my ex get me so angry when we talk?

Stay Calm

If your ex tries to get you upset or angry, stay calm. Don't respond to his\her anger or engage in a confrontation she\he is trying to get you involved in. Be sincere and calm in your response. As the old saying goes, “kill them with kindness” (not literally of course!) Deal with the situation the same as you would with a hostile customer at work. Don't take it personally even though it is directed at you personally. Tell them you are sorry they feel that way but the situation is out of your control, the situation can't be undone, you are not able to discuss the issue with them, or whatever the rationale is.

Why does it feel as though there is wall between myself and the kids?

Build a dialog with your children

Now that the family structure has changed you will have to develop a new method of communicating. The children will have to find a way to relate to you openly and directly, take the lead and show them the way.

My children will not see me, what can I do?

Sometimes children say good-bye

There are times that older teenagers do not want contact with one of their parents after a divorce. When this occurs, utilize the services of a therapist to clarify why, and to help put closure to the relationship.

Can I just agree with a change in our prior agreement?

We made an agreement without my lawyer

Do not make any agreements without checking with your lawyer first. Often when you agree to something you are stuck with the agreement, it will make things difficult for you, and create friction between you and your lawyer. Tell your ex you will think about it and then check with your lawyer before agreeing.

Can my child help me prove my ex is seeing someonelse?

Involving the children

Never ask your child to spy on their parent. Do not ask them to see how much money their parent is making, or ask who they call or what they do. The children are not spies and they are not peers, let them be children who are with their other parent.

Why can´t my ex mind his own business?

What your ex should know

Never tell your children to keep something secret from your ex. Your ex and the world at large have a right to know whatever your child knows. Telling children to keep secrets is harmful to the child's development. Children are innocent and will tell everything they know to anyone who will listen. Telling children to keep secrets makes them vulnerable to people who want to exploit them, and makes them feel guilty when they talk to their other parent. If you do not want your ex to know, do not let the children know.

Will mediation prevent my spouse from getting a divorce?

Mediation and divorce

Do not agree to mediation in hopes that this will bring about a reconciliation. Mediation is not marriage counselling. Often people feel if they agree to go to mediation, their spouse will calm down and be willing to reunite. This is not the focus of mediation, and you may find that you are agreeing to things you cannot live with in hopes of reconciling. You will only postpone the inevitable, and may even put yourself at a disadvantage in the divorce.

I do not have custody, how do I stay in contact besides visits?

Talking to your children

Often non custodial parents are not able to have frequent communication with their children. The internet has become a great tool in staying in touch. Send your children e-mails and e-mail cards as well as aid them with their homework.

I can´t believe what my child said happened, who do I call?

When the children complain

When the children complain about the care they are getting from your ex, talk to your ex about what the children are saying. Do not accuse, but do explore, often children think you want to hear something bad so they tell you something, sometimes it is made up, other times it is inflated. By talking together without accusing you insure that the children do not grow up manipulating those around them.

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Kristle Jones