Communication is vital for parents who are divorcing as it is essential to discuss your children’s well-being and everyday life occurrences. Divorce is unique to every family and it comes with no instructional manual as to how to proceed in an effective manner so all family members will adjust.
Divorce for children is a turning point in their lives since the family as they once knew it will never be recaptured. Due to the fact that divorce is so prevalent in our society, many children and teens will face the issues that divorce brings. As the old saying goes, “nobody knows what it is like until you walk in their shoes”. Children may have friends or extended family members that are divorced and have witnessed divorce, but until your family experiences divorce, it was someone else’s problem. Now that your children may have many questions and seek to find answers while experiencing feelings of loneliness and insecurity which often correlates with transitions of divorce.
Transitions for many are a learning time that can be frustrating although it does not have to compromise the family unit. One point to remember is when a divorce occurs during the years of pre-teen and teen years, the task of self-identity is present. Changes need to be handled with care and as much as possible and maintaining consistency is helpful. The more changes that children must face, the more resources within themselves they must use to help adapt to the changes.
Communication is important during and after divorce for every family member. Parents should verbalize that the marital problems are between the parents and that divorce is a grown up decision and has nothing to do with the love for their children. Children of every age need to know that the divorce is not their fault and one valuable way to accomplish this is through communication.
Changes in divorce are usually in vast supply affecting many family members to adjust to these changes. Emotions can range from frustration, anger, stress, abandonment, fear and guilt. There may also be feelings of relief, especially if there has been physical and verbal abuse. Discussing feelings and how important that it is to process and express feelings is important. Communication is a great tool in allowing the feelings and thought process to be expressed.
Custody arrangements and agreements can also bring forth many emotions. Through my years of working with children, I have heard stories of vast differences of parental expectations in both parent’s home and how the child feels that he exists to be “equal” to both parents without taking into account his feelings. Communication between parents in order to maintain consistency between homes is invaluable. Boundaries between the two homes are necessary and often give a sense of stability. Conversation with your children about life in your home and how they perceive it is a great way to open communication.
Communication is vital for the family to move past divorce. Communication divorce topics often bring fear to children as they are afraid that the answer that they give may make the parent upset and thus they feel responsible. One way to foster communication soon after divorce may be to use a communication box. Family members may have concerns but are often afraid to voice these concerns, thus creating a communication box is often helpful. You may be asking, what is a communication box? A communication box is simply a box (shoe box, cardboard box) that every family member can take part in decorating with stencils, stickers, wrapping paper, etc. to represent themselves. A slot is cut in the top of the box and paper is placed beside the box with crayons. Crayons help to minimize knowing who wrote the question or comment thus conveying a safe communication. Parents, even if you know which child wrote the question, it must be answered in a manner that you do not if you desire the communication to continue. Another fact to remember is no question should be minimized in any manner as you will desire communication to be present now and years to come with your children. It is wise to empty the box at a certain time of the day in order to have ample time to think in advance as to the best way to answer the questions or handle issues that need communication. Remember the words that come from you will be forever remembered so take time to study the communication concern and answer after much consideration.
Communication is the key to a successful family and co-parenting for every member of the family. Divorce Tool Box online sessions can assist with your family’s communication plan. Visit our website today at www.divorcetoolbox.com.