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Fostering communication with children after the divorce

At one point or another, Georgians have likely witnessed a dad trying hard to communicate with his children. The kids may ignore him, or they may occasionally give him a one word answer. This may be one of the many problems facing a noncustodial parent as he or she struggles to maintain relationships with the children after a divorce.

As mothers have traditionally managed children's interactions in schools and activities, many have assumed the role of steering their children's social and emotional lives. Though there is a growing trend for fathers to be more involved in their children's lives, they may feel uncomfortable or ill-prepared for this role. This is exacerbated for fathers who have very limited visitation with their children.

There are several ways that noncustodial parents can effectively communicate with their children. If they keep trying, they may eventually strengthen their relationships with their children.

Take the time to learn about the children's school, activities and friends. If you remember the names of their teachers and friends when they are telling you stories, they may become more engaged. You can call your children's school, and get a copy of their calendar to stay informed.

A great time to talk to your children is in the car. You have an opportunity to show your interest in their activities and you can casually ask the children questions and show your interest in what they share with you. It is also beneficial to have conversations about an activity right after it happens, such as when you are picking them up from school or practice.

When you initiate conversations, ask open-ended questions. These questions may yield responses that lead to engaging conservations. When you talk with your children, rather than at them, you show that you are genuinely interested in their lives, and your children may be more engaged.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Must The Visits With Our Children Be So Awkward?" Linda Lipshutz, Sept. 10, 2012

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Marietta, GA 30060

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