Children of Divorce Benefit from Connection with Both Parents

I love to hear from my readers. I am enjoying the comments I have received on the blog page of my newsletter and the LinkedIn groups. I cannot reply to all the parenting questions I receive but today I am going to tackle one that I think is important for many of you. The children of divorce who thrive are most often those who maintain a parenting relationship with both parents. Today, one father, wants to see how he can connect with his child even when not physically with her. I will look forward to your comments.

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Children of Divorce Benefit from Connection with Both Parents


I am separated from my daughter who just started Grade One. How can I get involved or help her with her schooling over the phone? I’m looking for ideas to get her to tell me about what she is learning.


Keeping in touch with your daughter is the most effective tool you have.  She needs to know that although you’re not physically present you do care about her.  This alone will help her learn because she’ll be feeling positive about her relationship with you. When she can read and write you can add email and texts to your communication strategies.

Asking questions is the most tempting but usually ineffective way of getting information from children.  In the first place they don’t see their school day as a series of learning experiences so they’re not sure what you want to hear.  Also, let’s face it; some days are just routine, nothing outstandingly interesting happens.  So when you ask what she learned today and she says nothing the conversation hits a brick wall.

Some children feel interrogated by questions and are non-responsive. When we ask kids a bunch of questions about their day, they can feel as if they are in a witness box and there are right answers and wrong answers.

It’s much better to just converse and listen.  By simply listening to her, you will start to hear her use new words and phrases and notice her ability to express herself will slowly improve.  When you notice her using a new idea or talking about a new skill you can ask more.  Questions such as, what do you like best about adding? or do you have a favourite story? may encourage discussion.

Stay in touch with the school to find out what’s happening.

You may want to supplement your phone calls with email or using the regular post.  Send her books that you can then talk about over the phone.  Have her send you some of her schoolwork which you can assure her is proudly displayed on your fridge.

Knowing that you care about her and her education is the most important gift you can give her.

Posted in News, School-Age, Teens, Toddlers | 5 Comments

5 Responses to Children of Divorce Benefit from Connection with Both Parents

  1. These days with technology like Skype, or Google Talk, using the computer to communicate with the added benefits of a web-cam can make it like you’re in the room, or you can work collaboratively too, as well as seeing each other, by using a variety of online tools. But of course that requires technology that may not be available to a newly divorced dad.

  2. Bernadette Bradbury says:

    A fantastic way to help particularly pre-K to Grade 2’s with homework (and stay connected) is to set up Skype accounts on your webcam-equipped computer/laptop/smartphones. Skype allows to you to see and talk via internet for free, and has a function where you can take still pictures/screenshots. I travel for work, and my husband has to handle bedtime and homework for 3 rambunctious boys age 4, 6 and 8, alone when I am away. My 1st grade middle son gets his reading assignment for the day (they have to read a little book daily, rarely more than a few words/page, and rarely more than 10 pages), and holds up each page of the book for me to take screenshots, then he struggles through the reading and I am able to read along by clicking through the screenshots and correct as needed. This is often a 15-30 minute process, and keeps him occupied while my husband is dealing with the other 2 kids, so it is helpful for my husband and I love being involved across the miles. I have also read story books via Skype, and sung nursery rhymes to my youngest when he was a toddler to put him to sleep via speakerphone parked on his pillow, till I heard him breathing heavily and no longer responding to my periodic questions, then wait for my harried husband to return to the room and hang up the phone! Technology is wonderful!

  3. Leah Davies says:

    Kathy Lynn is right, asking direct questions is often ineffective, but giving the child a Kelly Bear Feelings book and you having one could serve to enhance your communcation and your relationship with your child. For sample pages, see:

  4. Belinda Watts says:

    I just wanted to say that in the past there has been a lot of fathers who have been given the brunt end of the parenting deal, losing contact with their children, not given appropriate parenting rights, or continually having to fight to see their children. I am thrilled to see over the past few years, more and more fathers play a vital role in their children’s lives, whether it be half custody, full custody or just spending as much time as possible being a part of the kids lives. Fathers have really stepped up to the plate, with a little more help, because the courts, judges, etc, actually realize how crucial it is to have both parents involved in a child’s life. Way to go “Dad’s” and never give up on your kids!

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