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putting_childrens_first_bannerRick is joined by Dr. JoAnne Pedro-Carroll to discuss how to put your children first during a divorce. Dr. Pedro-Carroll is a clinical psychologist, researcher, author, and a consultant with over 30 years of experience with children and their families. She has authored over 100 publications including her award-winning book Putting Children First: Proven Parenting Strategies for Helping Children Thrive Through Divorce. They examine what kids think about when their parents talk about divorce, some of the top parental challenges when we go through a divorce, and how to actually tell your child that you’re divorcing.

Show Transcript

[Start] [0:00:24]

Segment 1

Rick: Good morning everyone and welcome to Divorce Talk with Rick Goldberg. If you’ve been impacted by divorce, if you’ve been through a miserable one, or if you’re struggling with your ex now, then you are definitely in the right place. My name is Rick Goldberg. And for the next hour, we’re going to create a dialogue around how to help children thrive, not just survive when they’re parents are divorcing.

I have a fantastic guest that I’m going to get to in just a moment. But over the next hour, we’re going discuss how to put our children first, what kids think about when their parents talk about divorce, some of the top parental challenges when we go through a divorce, and then lastly, and I know a lot of people struggled with this one, how to actually tell your child that you’re divorcing.

And our guest is going to have different tips for you at different ages for your children. And so today, I’m just really thrilled to have on my show Dr. JoAnne Pedro-Carroll. JoAnne’s specialization is in helping children get through divorce. She is a clinical psychologist. She is from Rochester, New York.

She is a researcher, an author, and a consultant with over 30 years of experience with children and their families. She has literally authored over 100 publications including her award-winning book which I was able to read last week called Putting Children First: Proven Parenting Strategies for Helping Children Thrive Through Divorce, which is available to you through Amazon.com.

JoAnne, that’s quite an introduction I gave you. And welcome to the show this morning.

JoAnne: Thank you, Rick. I’m delighted to be a part of it and to have a conversation about all the ways that we can really think to not only keep children’s needs a top priority but really keep healthy relationships between parents and their children.

Rick: You have a really fascinating CV and what really jumped out at me when I was reading about the work that you’ve done is some of the work that you did on Sesame Street. And I think our viewers would be very fascinated about how you got involved with that show. Could you share a little bit about that?

JoAnne: Oh sure. I just have enormous respect for Sesame Street because they tackle tough topics. And a few years ago, they contacted me to ask if I would help them develop materials and research-based information that they could share with parents to help children understand about divorce and family changes and to really help children get over some of the misconceptions that they sometimes have.

For example, young children often have fears of abandonment if the marital bond could dissolve. If mom and dad could stop loving each other, what’s the guarantee they’re going to continue to love their children? Sometimes young children also worry that whatever happened between parents with the problems where it might have been the children’s fault.

So, I worked with Sesame Street to develop materials. We produced a wonderful video that really is so effective in helping children understand all the changes in their family and to have reassurance that the kind of love parents have for them is the kind that doesn’t end and doesn’t stop.

Rick: Where could we see that video? Is it on YouTube or is it available?

JoAnne: Yeah. And what I love about this is these materials are free. If you go online to SesameStreet.org, there are materials right online. And I was starting to say one of the things I respect about Sesame Street is the fact that they address difficult topics like divorce and separation. There are also materials online about bullying, when the parent is deployed in the military, when a parent is incarcerated. So please check it out online on SesameStreet.org. It’s there for Resilience Project. And they’ve really – I so enjoyed working with them about all the ways we can really help to foster resilience and shelter.

Rick: I will check that out. I was surprised to read in your book that children refer to their parents’ divorce as their divorce. And I was wondering if you can explain to our listeners a little bit more about my divorce perspective when it comes to children.

JoAnne: Yes. Yes. So it’s very interesting. Back in the ‘80s when I was working on my doctoral dissertation, I started a program, a support group program for children who were dealing with changes in their family. And one of the things I heard come up over and over again as children would talk about it is they would refer to their parents’ divorces, my divorce. They’d say, “The hardest thing for me about my divorce …”

And very often what that meant and I hear that as childrenness [0:05:50] [Phonetic], the way children communicate was that oftentimes there had been a lot of conflict between parents. And so, the children got caught in the middle of that and were affected by it and felt like not only was it a change in their parents’ relationship but their relationship with their parents also changed and they were really feeling the losses in some pretty enormous ways.

Rick: You mentioned the word called childrenness [Phonetic]. What does that mean exactly?

JoAnne: I refer to how young children talk about things or sometimes even older children. They may say to a parent, “Are you going to get a new – am I going to get a new mommy?” for example. “Are you going to get a new wife? Are you going to get a new husband?” And sometimes what that means is not just a yes or no answer but the fact that the child has some underlying worries that a parent may be replaced, that if mom does get married again or has a new partner that their dad for example might be replaced or mom might be replaced.

So I go into some detail in my book about understanding the hidden emotions that children certainly have and some of the fear that they have but seldom are able to put into words. So the parents can understand how to connect with children and bridge that communication gap.

Rick: If you’re just tuning in, I’m Rick Goldberg and we’re talking about how children deal with going through a divorce. On our show today is Dr. JoAnne Pedro-Carroll from Rochester, New York. And if you can’t catch our show live, you can always download the podcast at KPRCRadio.com or on my site, RickMGoldberg.com. And as you know, we’re here every Sunday at 8:00 o’clock in the morning.

JoAnne, if I overheard my child saying, “Am I going to get a new mommy?” either asking me or someone else, what’s the way to deal with that?

JoAnne: Yes, great question Rick. The way to deal with it is to say – to first of all reflect the child’s feelings about that. “I see you’ve been given that some thought and you’re wondering what’s going to happen. Well, I want you to know that even if I have a new relationship, even if I do get married again, no one will ever take the special place that I have in my heart for you.” Because sometimes children fear that if a parent is in a new relationship that they’re going to love that person more than the child.

The other thing to reassure a child about is, “Even if I do get married again, you only have one dad and he will always be your dad. You only have one mom and she’ll always be your mom. Even though there are more people who will love you.” So, reassurances that there’s going to be stability in the relationship.

And I think very often, children when there’s a new relationship coming into the child’s life, children do worry that I’ve heard them say in our groups many times, “I’m afraid he’s going to love her more now than he loves me or I’m afraid mom is going to love him more than me.”

Rick: Thank you, JoAnne. Coming up on our next segment, I’m going to bring Dr. JoAnne Pedro-Carroll back. She’s going to discuss how you can listen to those unspoken meanings and your children’s questions to better understand just what your kids are thinking and feeling.

So don’t go away, we’ll be right back.

[End] [0:10:00]


[Start] [0:10:34]

Segment 2

Rick: Welcome back everyone to Divorce Talk Radio with Rick Goldberg visiting this Sunday morning with Dr. JoAnne Pedro-Carroll. JoAnne is a senior researcher at Children’s Institute and a professor of psychology at the University of Rochester. She specializes in the effects of marital adjustment on children and the developmental implementation and evaluation of preventative interventions for children.

And what that really means is she know how to keep your kids safe, feeling good, keep their self-worth so that they don’t take on your divorce. Welcome back to the show with me this morning, JoAnne.

JoAnne: Thank you. Thanks, Rick.

Rick: When we – in our first segment, we are talking about how important it is to let the child know that, “Hey, you’re only going to have one mom and one dad.” Now, when there’s a new relationship, a new stepmom or a stepdad, how do you start developing that discussion with your child?

JoAnne: Another really important topic and now, I devoted a chapter to that in my book because it is so important. We really want to understand how to stack a deck for success in a remarriage? And one of the ways of doing that is to prepare children in advance. Allow them time to adjust to the separation and that divorce first before trying to forge ahead in blending a family.

But once that has happened, I think one of the things that we know from so many studies that one of the best ways for a new stepparent coming into a family situation to deal with children is to really be supportive of the primary parent and not try and come on as a disciplinarian right away but gradually allow time to form relationships.

When we think about new relationships, sometimes we expect children to kind of have an instant bond and it certainly takes time. But with time and care and allowing the child to be able to have a healthy relationship with both their primary parent and not feel disloyal for loving the new stepparent, those are all things that can go such a long way to really having healthy relationships over time.

Rick: It’s such really beautiful feedback. This is KPRC 950. And if you want to call and ask JoAnne a question, you could reach us at 713-212-5950. And if you’re listening on our KPRCRadio.com podcast, unfortunately, nobody is going to answer the phone. But we do have a caller on line 5.

And it’s interesting, my producer was talking with this caller just a moment ago and there’s this assumption of how divorce impacts children in their adolescent age, teenagers. But we have a caller on the line who is 25, 26 years old and I think she has a question about how divorce is impacting her right now at her age.

So Luce, are you there?

Luce: Hi. Yes, I’m here.

Rick: Hey, thanks for calling the show this morning.

Luce: Thanks for having me on.

Rick: Hey, you’re welcome. Do you have a question or something that you’d like to share this morning?

Luce: Yes. Well, I think you guys already said. I’m 26 years old. I just – best time by the way.

Rick: Thanks.

Luce: You guys are awesome. And my dilemma I guess is I was – I just found out that my dad is seeing another woman.

Rick: OK.

Luce: I had noticed my parents were distant and they started sleeping separately and I asked my mom. She didn’t want to mention anything about it and she is like, “I don’t want to talk about it.” I asked my dad and he told me he fell in love with another woman and he has been seeing somebody else.

And I didn’t know what – I don’t know how to even feel about it like I’m angry. I’m like really angry at him. I can’t even talk to him about it. And I just don’t know how to deal with it because I really – I want them to be happy. I mean I wish he would have done it a different way and I just – I don’t know if I could ever kind of see the same way. I mean I really don’t – I don’t know how to handle it.

Rick: Well, I really appreciate you calling, Luce, and just really sharing at such a deep level. JoAnne, what kind of insight can you help Luce with?

JoAnne: Oh, first of all, Luce, those are huge, huge issues for you to be dealing with so it’s so understandable that you’d have all kinds of emotions about it and a lot of frankly, a lot of anger at your dad.

Luce: Anger, yeah.

JoAnne: Yeah. Are your parents still together?

Luce: They’re together. They’re just – they’re in the same house. I mean they’ve been married forever. I mean it has been – it’s almost 30 years I want to say. And I don’t know – I don’t like to think that their cool ways if they don’t want to move out or I don’t know if my dad still kind of – doesn’t know how to deal with it. I really don’t know. I just – they’re just separate in the house. They’re together in the house separately and it’s very awkward and strange and I just – I don’t know how to even approach the house anymore really.

JoAnne: Yes. Yeah. Well, the other thing is, is your mom isn’t aware of this?

Rick: I bet she is now.

Luce: Yeah. Yes, she is because I told him. I said if she doesn’t know, she needs to know now.

JoAnne: Yeah.

Luce: And then – I’m pretty sure. I mean I don’t live with them and my parents are not violent people so I haven’t heard of any fights or anything like that. My mom is very – she is very passive I think. So it’s just – I don’t know.

JoAnne: Well, what’s so hard is your dad laid some very, very heavy information at your feet and put it into your hands and you shouldn’t be responsible for keeping a secret. That’s one thing.

Luce: Now, I haven’t talked to my mom about it.

JoAnne: Yeah. And that’s up to him to do that. And I think one of the things that’s going to be so important for you is to make sure you don’t get drawn into the middle of your parents’ conflicts and kind of forced to take sides with one of them. I think it could be really helpful for you to have somebody you can talk to to sort out all the feelings you have about this. It sounds to me like you’re a very caring person, you have a lot of compassion and obviously, this is really upsetting information to have. So it would be great for you to have a support, an outlet for you.

Rick: Well, Luce, I really want to thank you again for calling in. We’re going to be coming up to a break in a few more minutes. JoAnne, a lot of people say children are resilient but when it comes to divorce, really, there’s a paradox between how resilient can children be. And I think you talk about that a little bit in your book. Could you sort of relate that to what Luce might be experiencing?

JoAnne: Yes. Yeah. We hear that off the cough comment a lot, “Oh, kids are resilient. They’ll get over it.” And that’s a myth of resilience. Resilience happens when adults take responsibility for basically protecting their children from their own issues and keeping their children out of a conflict and not drawing them into to make the parents’ divorce ultimately the child’s divorce from a parent.

So, resilience doesn’t just happen of course. It happens from getting the help that we need, getting help when we need it. It’s a sign of strength and courage. And I think Luce took a lot of courage even for you to call today. And I really appreciate you doing that. And I hope you do reach out to maybe a counselor that you can talk with about all the different feelings that you’re having because those are very normal under these circumstances.

Rick: JoAnne, before we head into our next break, is there one headline of which you could just share like what a parent can do to make their child more resilient? Something they could be aware of and implement.

JoAnne: Oh, I think one of the most important is contain their conflict, not draw their children into it.

Rick: Let’s hold right there on that and I want to come back to that when we come back from this break. We’re going to have to step away for a minute. But when we return, JoAnne is going to talk to us about just that, how to – what to do with that conflict and then we’re going to share her process of how to tell each age group of child that you’re thinking about or actually getting divorce. So we’ll see you right after the break. We’re at the halfway mark here at Divorce Talk Radio.

[End] [0:21:03]


[Start] [0:21:34]

Segment 3

Rick: It’s a Fleetwood Mac morning here on Divorce Talk Radio with Rick Goldberg. I’m visiting with Dr. JoAnne Pedro-Carroll, an expert on the topic of children and divorce. If you have questions for JoAnne this morning, you can call or text us here at KPRC 950 at 713-212-5950.

So JoAnne, I think a lot of our listeners are probably wondering how do I or maybe we as a mom and dad unit, how do we tell the kids that we’re divorcing? So what’s the most age-specific best way to communicate what is probably going to be the worst news that they have ever heard so far in their life? But maybe you can give us some examples at some various different ages.

JoAnne: Yes. Yes. And you know, it’s absolutely important for parents to prepare children before someone actually moves out. One of the worst very frightening things for young children especially and probably children of all ages is one that is just been a really angry fight a parent abruptly leaves without any explanation.

So it is important for parents to first of all have a discussion in advance so that they can sit down together with their children. I often talk about even the physical setting. Make sure it’s a time when nobody has to run off and do something else. It’s going to be a family time, hopefully both parents sitting with their children, kind of book ending their children hopefully with an arm around them, perhaps on a family sofa.

And then based on the children’s ages, being able to explain to them in age-appropriate terms what changes are going to be happening in the family. But also, equally important is what will stay the same. And hopefully, there will be many things that stay the same.

So for example, I took a lot of time in my book to devote to each age group. So for example, what to tell 3 to 5-year olds is different from what you would say to a 10, 11, 12-year-old and into adolescence. But with young children, we’ll start with that, giving them a pretty simple explanation of family changes. I provide a sample script about each age group.

So with young children, it might be something like, “Mom and dad have some grown up problems that make it hard for us to get along. We’ve been fighting too much. And that’s not good for any of us. So we’ve decided not to live together anymore. We’ll have two houses and you’ll spend time with each of us at each home.” If that’s true.

And I think you also want to be able to reassure children about what’s not going to change. “You’ll still be going to your same school. Dad will still be coaching your soccer. Mom will still be doing scouts with you. Dad is going to have kitty at his house but you’ll still be able to have our dog at this house.” And sometimes the families even have the dog go back and forth with the children.

And I think the key with young children is for parents to say, “We want you to know you didn’t cause any of these problems. None of this was your fault. But in fact, one of the things we both, dad and I, mom and I both agree on is how much we love you and the best part of our being together is the fact that we got have you. And the kind of love we have for you is the kind that will never end no matter what.”

Rick: And I am – that’s really well-written and well-researched and really lands on me in a really loving, passionate way. What I was interested in is have you been able to study exactly what children are hearing when they’re hearing that message?

JoAnne: Yes. And that’s a really good point. I’m so glad you brought that up. Children are likely to have all kinds of emotions. And one might be shock. They weren’t expecting it. So they may not even be processing everything that’s said in that first conversation. That’s why I always say telling children about family changes isn’t a one-time conversation. It’s really a process over time.

It’s kind of like if we go to the doctor’s office and we get a diagnosis we’re not expecting. We don’t always remember exactly what was said. We need an opportunity to sort it out, call again, ask about it, and really give ourselves time to understand. The same is true with children. So I think it’s important for parents to say, “We know that this is hard stuff. We feel sad about it too. But we really are going to be able to – we want to know how you feel and we want to help you through this and make it as best for all of us as we can. We’re going to be OK.” So you want to give a message of hope as well about moving forward.

Rick: Nice. When you say that kids experience shock, what emotions do you think really are over that shock? Is it – I guess my takeaway, my sense, that they’re feeling a lot of sadness and a lot of fear. But when you say shock, what are you saying exactly?

JoAnne: Well, I think the universal reaction probably for children of all ages is what? A big question mark, what’s going to happen to me? Young children may worry, “Well, who is going to take care of me? If I wake up in the middle of the night, is there a parent going to be here?”

Older children maybe, “Who is going to help me with getting to my sporting events?” Basically, “What about me? How is this going to affect my future, my family? Are we going to be OK?”

Rick: If you have teenagers and your predominant level of communicating with your teenagers is through text messaging, tell our listeners why they need to 100% absolutely avoid texting your teenager the fact that you’re thinking about moving out, it’s not working with your mom anymore. Can you shine some light on how ineffective that might be?

JoAnne: Oh, that’s very ineffective, Rick. I’ve also heard of terrible situations where a parent thinks they’re texting a girlfriend or a new guy they’re seeing and it ends up in the child’s text message. So, for a whole variety of reasons, parents need to be sitting down with their children and being able to comfort them, being able to answer questions, being able to give them information.

And what I call, I describe it as you want to tell your children without telling on the other parent. Children don’t want to hear what I’ve heard them say in our support groups, they say, “Tell us what’s happening in our family but please spare us the gory details.” They don’t want to hear about a parent’s infidelity or character flaws. They’re a part of each parent so they’re hurt when there are negative messages sent about the other parent.

So definitely in person conversations with a message of, “I understand you may not feel like talking about it right now and that’s OK. But I’m going to check in with you. We’ll be checking in with you to see how it’s going and we want to hear your thoughts and feelings about all the changes.”

Rick: That’s a very good point, very good point. We’re close up to our next break. So we’re going to cut away now. When we come back, we’re going to talk a little bit more about your book and also, I’m kind of interested in how you start positioning your children for that next relationship. Maybe not stepmom or stepdad yet but how do we start getting them ready for that? So stay tune. You’re listening to Divorce Talk Radio right here.

[End] [0:30:47]


[Start] [0:31:28]

Segment 4

Rick: Good morning everyone and welcome back to Divorce Talk Radio with Rick Goldberg. This is our final segment. I’d like to thank for listening to our show this morning. If you’ve been with us for the first three segments then you’ve been listening to Dr. JoAnne Pedro-Carroll talking about how kids deal with the issues of divorce.

And JoAnne, it has been a pleasure so far having you on the show.

JoAnne: Thank you, Rick. It is for me as well.

Rick: If there’s something right now that you would just want the divorced parents or the ones that are struggling with their divorce, what would that be?

JoAnne: I think two things. One is we hear so often about a lot of a negative impact of divorce. And a message I really want to say loud and clear is that those long-term problems don’t have to happen. They’re not inevitable. There are so many things parents can do to prevent children from having those difficulties that we know can happen and can endure.

And the two most powerful factors and what helps children to get on a healthy path with resilience and healthy adjustment, one is the extent to which parents can contain their conflicts with each other and keep their children out of the middle because as we all know, anger, feelings of betrayal, love, those are all powerful emotions that are natural part of a relationship ending.

Rick: Sure.

JoAnne: But the key is how can parents navigate their own strong emotions in a way that protects their children from harm?

The second factor that is equally as important is what I call, many researchers call quality of parenting. And that means, the extent to which parents after a breakup are able to create in their own household what I call two pillars of good parenting, love and limits. So love meaning of course the nurture and listening to children, caring about their feelings, that unconditional love but also creating expectations for behavior.

It doesn’t do children any good to let act out and sometimes parents may feel guilty about the breakup so maybe they’re letting their kids just spend a whole lot of time on screen time doing things that aren’t particularly healthy, not monitoring where adolescents are. So two really powerful ways that parents can shape their children towards healthier adjustment.

Rick: When I was 6 or 7 years old, my parents divorced. And this was back in the mid ‘60s where divorce wasn’t all that popular. I like to say that I was probably one of the first ones on my block to go through a divorce.

JoAnne: And I bet that was hard.

Rick: It was extremely hard.

JoAnne: Yeah.

Rick: And I took on just in the work that I’ve done since, I sort of explored but I really began to take a lot of shame on for not only having to be really one of the few people in my school or on my street that came from a broken family. But what I really remember struggling with was I like – I had such a hard time introducing my stepdad with his last name to my friends. They would say, “Hello, Mr. Goldberg.” And then I would have to like embarrassingly reintroduce him with the appropriate last name. And man, I just want to run and hide when I was going through that. It was really tough. So how can our listeners, how can they help their children not take on shame from divorce?

JoAnne: Yes. And you know, Rick, what you’re describing is such a very strong common reaction particularly in kids of 10, 11, 12 who may not be aware that there are a lot of other families in this situation too. And it was probably especially hard for you in the ‘60s when it wasn’t as talked about and open.

And one of the things I often suggest to parents that they do when they sit down to tell their children about what the changes that are going to happen in the family is to say to them, “Sometimes it can be hard to tell your friends. We want you to know you don’t have to keep a secret about this. There’s no shame. Mom and I, dad and I want to handle this in a way that we’re still respectful of each other. And if you think it would be helpful, if you don’t want to tell your bestfriends directly, if you’d like help with that, we can help you. Let us know if you’d like me to call your friend’s mom and let her know about it or if you want to tell your friend directly, that’s OK too.”

Rick: So, have you seen that a lot or you’ve done that with some of your clients where you maybe have helped facilitate a let’s tell our children’s friends and their families that we’re divorcing but nothing really is changing and you don’t have to treat us any differently?

JoAnne: That’s right.

Rick: Tell us a little bit more about that.

JoAnne: I often do that with families that I’m working with. And I often say to parents, one of the things that you could be doing is letting your inner circle know that you want to handle this in the most respectful way possible. And to tell them you’re not looking for them to take sides. You want them to know that you want to be able to be amicable. You want the kids to have a good relationship with their extended family with both parents. And that you really welcome their support in not making this something that sounds like a warzone or feels like a warzone with people having to choose sides.

Rick: Earlier – I’m sorry, go ahead.

JoAnne: And it can work very well that way.

Rick: Earlier in the show, you talked about getting children ready for the divorce. In other words, don’t just one parent or another leave suddenly without any dialogue. So getting them ready, how do you begin to get your children ready for your next relationship?

Let’s just paint the picture that I’ve been divorced now for maybe about a year. I’ve been starting to see someone maybe just a couple of months, haven’t introduced her to my child yet but I’m thinking it’s going get serious and I’d like to start blending her with my kid when I have custody. And so, how do I do that? How do I begin that?

JoAnne: OK. Well, first of all Rick, I heard you say it’s – in that hypothetical situation, it has been about a year since you’re divorced?

Rick: Well, not me personally. I’m just putting in the hypothetical.

JoAnne: I know, in this situation.

Rick: Well, let’s say, yeah. Let’s just say gosh I know people that they start dating really quickly. But let’s just say that …

JoAnne: I think that’s a problem.

Rick: Yeah. Let’s just say they’ve listened to their therapist and they’ve waited – and their divorced lawyer, and they’ve waited a year. And so now, they have the green light to go out dating. They met someone. They think it might turn into something but you never know. And they want to start telling their child about it. What do they do?

JoAnne: OK. I like it that they’ve waited that year because during that time hopefully, they’ve been able to really tend and maintained healthy relationships with their children. So their children feel secure in their parents’ love and the knowledge of that strong connection so that when a new relationship is coming along, children have confidence about their special place in their parents’ heart. That’s really important. That’s an important point to not skip over.

But then say a parent is feeling ready to date, has met someone. I think going slowly is really important for a lot of reasons both for that parent personally to sort out and understand what happened in the first relationship and hopefully they’ve learned from that and grown from the experience. But then giving children time to meet the person and basically get – I think it’s important to get to know a potential partner as a friend and a confidante first to get a sense of what’s this person going to be like with my children.

But also making sure to really explore whether that person shares your values as a parent and also thinking about not only whether that person is going to be a partner for you but equally important whether he will/she will be a good stepparent for your children. So if you’re at that point then when you’re ready for intimate relationship, I think it’s important to not bring your date into your home when your children are present. But instead, arrange to meet during a time when your – it to be more …

Rick: When you’re out somewhere.

JoAnne: Yes. Yes. I was going to say in a child-friendly situation. Have it be that first. So it’s child-focused. The child isn’t meeting your new partner as they wake up and show up at the breakfast table. But instead, maybe you meet at a park or some social gathering.

Rick: That is a great advice. JoAnne, I really want to just thank you again for coming on the show this morning. I know it’s a little bit earlier there on the East Coast. But you’ve really been a wonderful guest and you offer just tremendous insight. And I know I’ve learned so much and I always say to myself, if I can just learn one or two new things every show, it’s always worthwhile. So I really appreciate you taking the time this morning to come on.

JoAnne: Well, thank you Rick. I so appreciate the opportunity to get the message out that divorce is a major life change. It is stressful but it’s also an opportunity for growth and positive changes. And when we can keep children’s needs a priority, often everybody thrives in that situation. So thank you.

Rick: You’re welcome. Absolutely. And my best advice to divorcing parents would be to treat your children with respect and remember that you’ve raised them to be smart and pretty thoughtful people. So don’t forget how you raise them. The more you treat them that they’re capable of compassion and understanding, the more they’re going to be compassionate and understanding from my view. The more you treat your kids like individual people and not just children, the more they’re going to be able to see you as an individual and not just their parent.

So listen to them. Answer their questions openly and honestly, listen when they say – listen to what they say and don’t ever dismiss their feelings. Encourage their feelings. Encourage the sadness. Encourage the anger. Let them have it.

So once again, I want to thank everyone for listening to our show this morning. You can hear us next week on Divorce Talk Radio right here at KPRC 950 every Sunday morning at 8:00 o’clock. Have a great week.

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