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Discussing post-divorce communication boundaries with children

When parents divorce, some parents are fine with never speaking to one another again. Or the parents may agree to only communicate when it is absolutely necessary. They may do this in order to avoid fights and conversations that may cause more pain.

However, children typically have very different needs when it comes to communication with parents after divorce. Having ongoing and frequent access to each parent can actually benefit children. As such, it is important to create and discuss ways to preserve positive boundaries when it comes to the communication between parents and children after a divorce.

Deciding what is necessary

Finding effective and beneficial communication boundaries will typically depend on the child's age and needs.

Younger children may need more frequent and consistent communication with each parent; older children may need more direction on when to reach out to a non-custodial parent or how to be responsible when it comes to texting, emailing or otherwise communicating with each parent.

Think about how a child may benefit from discussions with another parent, and what it may entail.

For instance, it may be a good idea to let your toddler call the other parent to say a quick goodnight as he or she adjusts to spending time away from him or her. But if you have an adolescent who is more likely to use communication as a means of manipulation or escapism, it can be best to set limits regarding time and frequency of communications with the other parent.

Having these boundaries can protect each parents' time with a child while also allowing the child to maintain safe and healthy relationships with each parent.

Establishing a plan

Rules for communication can be part of a comprehensive parenting plan. Parents can dictate a call schedule and rules for communicating with a child when he or she is with the other parent. The plan can also include guidance for parents if a child is calling or otherwise contacting one parent too much.

It is easier than ever for people to communicate, whether it is a phone call, text, direct message or video chat. Many kids are more tech-savvy than their parents and as such, addressing communication boundaries and rules can be a crucial element of any modern parenting plan.

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