Divorced parents are often advised on ways to connect with their children after divorce. This recent article from helpguide.org is no different: it provides some time-tested ways to connect with your kids. This type of article can be very helpful when a parent is feeling their parent-child communication strained. However, a less talked about, less written about topic is what not to talk about with your kids during or after your divorce proceedings. Often, is it just as important to not say the wrong things as it is to say the right things.
One example of how not to communicate with your children is to use them as a messenger between you and your ex. This is especially true when the messages you are asking to be conveyed involve a contentious issue. When parents do this the child has to carry the stress of worrying about whatever reaction your ex may have or letting you down by failing to deliver the message. Instead, if possible, communicate with your spouse directly (in writing if necessary).
Another (unfortunately) common mistake parents make is to have conversations with other people regarding the status of their divorce, or how terrible their ex is, within the hearing distance of their children. As every parent who has let a swear word slip out under their breath knows, kids hear everything we say – especially when we don’t want them to hear it. The minute they hear you say your ex’s name, their little ears zero in. As such, keep your vent sessions limited to times when the child is residing with the other parent, or when you can have a babysitter and head out with a friend or adult family member.