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Direct communication may ease divorce woes for kids

Parents in Minnesota have some valid reasons to be concerned about direct forms of communication like texting and social media. However, a new study suggests such technology may actually help kids feel loved and supported when one parent no longer lives in the same home. It has long been asserted that kids cope better with divorce when divorcing parents get along, but researchers came to a different conclusion.

The team behind the study evaluated data from parents who had gone through divorce with children ranging in age from 10 to 18. Researchers also considered parental warmth, closeness and other aspects of the typical parent-child relationship along with various co-parenting styles. But what ended up making the biggest difference with parent-child relationships was the frequency of communication.

Parents who communicated with their children, whether it was via text or talking, once a month or less, reported having less knowledge about their kids. However, as communication frequency improved, so did the relationships. Based on the study results, researchers recommend children who are old enough be allowed to communicate directly to maintain contact with the parent not living in the family home. A psychologist not involved with the research agreed with the conclusions and subsequent recommendation, noting that direct communication may keep children from getting caught up in lingering conflicts between divorced parents.

Unless there are special circumstances involved, a divorced parent should be able to directly communicate with a child they no longer live with regardless of what physical custody arrangements exist. If there is a dispute regarding a custodial parent preventing any type of contact, a lawyer could make an initial attempt to resolve the conflict out of court for the sake of the child. Otherwise, additional legal steps may be discussed to resolve the issue.

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