After you tell the children about the separation or divorce, keep the lines of communication open between you and your children. Here are some tips on how to do that.
Make opportunities to talk
Do what you can to keep the dialogue, any dialogue, going between you and your children. One of the best ways to keep your kids communicating with you is to have conversations with them about everyday things too. If every conversation seems to be about separation and divorce, they may soon start to avoid them altogether.
To encourage conversation with your child, choose phrases or questions that require more than a one-word or yes/no response. Try, “What did you do at school today?” or “Let's talk about what we want to do this weekend” to get a discussion going.
Here are some more tips:
Listen to what they have to say
Encourage their questions
Answer their questions
Children may ask questions that are difficult to answer throughout or even months or years after the separation or divorce. Do not avoid a question or give your child a misleading answer. If they have the courage to ask, try to find the courage to answer. If you don't have an answer for them, be honest about it – say you don't know, or haven't made a decision yet.
See Responding to children's questions for more information on how to answer children's questions about the separation or divorce.
In the Speak Up! sections of both the Kids Guide and Teen Guide, children are encouraged to speak up, talk about their feelings, ask parents questions, and let their parents know when something concerns them.
If you are concerned that your child has become increasingly withdrawn and is not willing to communicate with you since learning about the separation or divorce, talk to your family doctor.