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Communication can be key in helping teens thrive post-divorce

Teenagers these days are often more comfortable sending a text message or video chatting to communicate with others rather than with their parents. However, parents in Colorado should recognize that these communication methods can help parents and teens develop a strong relationship with one another, particularly if the parents are divorced.

According to a recent study that evaluated 400 parents who were divorced and had a child between the ages of 10 and 18, the more contact a parent had with their child, the better their relationship with their child was no matter how well the parent got along with their ex. These findings are different from earlier studies that claimed cooperative co-parenting was key to helping children thrive post-divorce.

Preteens and teenagers often have their own cellphone or tablet, so texting, emailing and video chatting is readily accessible to them and allows them to have some ownership over the way they communicate with their parents. Researchers stated that communication -- whether it is through technology or in-person -- is a critical component to ensuring that parents and children have a good connection with one another post-divorce. Children need their parents to be supportive, warm and engaged in their daily lives. The study found that communication on a daily or weekly basis could help foster a positive parent-child relationship, even if the parents' relationship with one another is conflictual or disengaged.

So, parents should try to embrace the technology their children are so familiar with. Teens may be more willing to open up to their parents through these alternative means of communication, and simply knowing they can reach their parents whenever they need to can go a long way to helping them thrive, even if their parents' marriage did not last.

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