My Son Won’t Talk to Me After Divorce: How to Restore The Relationship

son ignoring mother
Natalie Maximets

By Natalie Maximets | Aug 30th, 2021

Divorce is a challenging time for parents and children. Thoughts such as “my son won’t talk to me after divorce” or “my daughter will hate me, and I will be a single mother” haunt parents with teenagers during a breakup. 

The decision to dissolve the marriage can be like a hundred-ton weight on the shoulders. It seems the price for personal well-being is a good relationship with your children.

If you have already typed “my child blames me for the divorce” or “what to do if my son hates me after divorce” into the Google search box, you have already faced the problem of your child’s estrangement. 

In this article, you will learn simple and practical tips and advice on regaining the trust and love of your teen and overcoming the abyss of misunderstanding.

Don’t Take Your Children’s Anger Personally

The family is a child’s whole world where they can always find support, understanding, and care. But a divorce collapses it in an instant. 

Failure to understand the whole situation causes confusion, and it can seem that they are being left to their fate. 

Therefore, anger is a natural defensive reaction to what is happening. The child is afraid of losing you as a parent, so they try in every way to attract attention.

Another reason for anger may be that you are the one who caused the divorce. For example, you filed for divorce or committed a fault that led to the breakup.

“Was it necessary to do it? It was all so good. Why can’t it be the same?” These are the thoughts that most often appear in adolescents. 

In this case, anger and hate are the reactions to a misunderstanding of the situation and a desire not to accept reality and leave their comfort zone.

Have a Heart-to-Heart Talk with Your Child

As an adult, you should take the first step towards your child. Start with a one-on-one conversation.

It would be best if you plan the conversation. The meeting does not have to take place at home. You can go with your child to their favorite cafe or park or choose any neutral territory. 

Make sure no family member or your former spouse gets in your way. The main goal is to let your teen speak out and give you a clear understanding of the reason for alienation.

Let your child lead the conversation. Listen carefully, do not argue, and do not judge their feelings, emotions, and thoughts about their vision of your divorce situation.

In conversation, do not judge or blame the other parent for everything. You should be ready to take responsibility for some of the reasons for the breakup. When the time is right, you can apologize to your child for the pain. 

But by no means start discussing your resentment that your child’s anger and alienation are hurting you. It can make the child feel like you are using guilt to shame them. 

As a result, your child will become even more disappointed in you and will no longer want to open their heart to you.

Maintain Communication in All Available Ways

To return to a healthy relationship with your child, you should constantly communicate with them. Even if, at first, it does not bring any result, do not give up. 

Your continued interest and presence will show that you strive to return your ties to their previous level.

Use social media, messengers, phone calls, or invite them to dinner. By doing this, you will show that communication with your child is priceless for you, that they are still part of your family, and that you have not left them to their fate.

If your adult child doesn’t answer you, that’s okay. Perhaps they need time to accept the fact that their parents are no longer together. You shouldn’t require them to understand and accept you instantly. 

If you are sincere in your intentions, your child will respond in kind.

Set Your Boundaries and Respect the Boundaries of the Child

The respect should be mutual. It would help if you modeled acceptable behavior. Do not allow kids to disrespect you, and do not let yourself get personal. 

You should explain to your child that you will listen and understand their feelings, but this does not mean that you will let them offend your personality and your feelings. 

If you and your kid can not control your emotions, it is better to postpone the conversation.

Accept that Your Children are Adults

Teenagers are old enough to make decisions. During a divorce, let them decide which parent to stay with. And if you disagree with their choice, do not judge them.

It would be best if you stopped talking to your child like they are little. Think of yourself at their age. For sure, it annoyed you. They are old enough to accept reality. Just be honest.

Try to avoid overly persistent parenting advice and phrases such as “I am older which means I am more experienced.” You only devalue the child’s thoughts and contribute to alienation. 

It does not mean that you should not advise your children. You can, but only when they ask you about it.

Ask a Family Counselor for Help

It is not always possible to cope with all the problems on your own. Communication with an alienated child can be a test of strength and stress resistance for you. 

You may want to contact a qualified mental health professional who can assess your situation and suggest a solution to the problem under your case.

You can see a family counselor with your child to help you establish contact with each other. You can also find help on forums where people discuss similar issues, suggest successful methods or strategies, and support each other.

Do not Rush to Introduce a New Lover

Do you know what can cause even more pain to a child after or during a divorce? When their father or mother starts seeing a new lover. Teenagers are susceptible to this. They may get the impression that you have betrayed them and the whole family. 

The situation can be aggravated by your desire for the child to call the new person as mom or dad.

If you have someone special after your divorce, that’s great. So you decided to move on after the breakup. But your child may not be ready for drastic changes. So, to begin with, you should test the waters, ask the child what they will think if you have someone.

Get Ready to Let Go

Sometimes the grief and resentment from the parents’ divorce are so intense that it is impossible to reconcile with the child. You should be ready to take this path of development. If, after all the attempts and methods you used, your child ignores your efforts to reunite or becomes even more irritable – stop. 

Write a letter or call. You should say: “son (or daughter), I understand you, you are angry with me and blame me for the divorce. And all my attempts to make peace with you cause you even more pain and inconvenience. Therefore, I let you go. Even though it hurts me, I respect your decision. I just want you to know that I am always glad to see and listen to you if you suddenly want to come to me or talk. “

In this case, parental alienation does not mean giving up your parental rights and abandoning the child. You can still send cards and gifts for the holidays to remind teens that you are still waiting for the reunion.

Final Words

If after divorce with your spouse you feel that your children have divorced you, do not despair. Instead, you should take small steps towards reconciliation.

With time, your children will understand that it was not only difficult for them during the divorce. But no matter how hard and painful it was for you, you did not leave them and did everything possible to mend the relationship.

Natalie Maximets

Natalie Maximets

Natalie Maximets is a certified life transformation coach at Online Divorce. She is a published author focused on the most progressive solutions in the field of Psychology. Natalie helps people go through fundamental life challenges, such as divorce, and build an entirely new life by reframing their personal narrative.


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