Avoid Disrespect to an Absent Parent After Divorce

Edited by Ian Gabriel T. Tolledo, Robbi, Lynn, Liezel and 5 others


Divorce often end up causing heartache and confusion. The parent who leaves home is often looked at as the "bad one," especially from the children's point of view. We have to admit that not all relationships are meant to be, despite our efforts to sustain a lasting marriage. Co-parenting amicably with an ex is essential for the children's stability and their healthy relationship with both parents. If you are the parent left with your child/children, your kid may take his or her mother or father's absence as a very negative thing and it may cause him or her to hate or develop hateful feelings toward that parent. The way, and the time it takes for each child to accept their parent's divorce, depends on the age, maturity and character of each child. This wiki will show you how to avoid disrespect to the absent parent.

Set up a Conversation/Meeting

There is good timing and bad timing. When preparing for a talk with your kids regarding this matter, it's better if you have rehearsed or jotted down notes on the things you want to talk about or address. This may sound tedious, but it helps. Understand that kids and children alike have short attention spans, so be brief and comprehensive with the conversation.

Note that children have an extremely difficult time in dealing with divorce issues. Parents oftentimes fail to consider the effects of their divorce on their kids.



You cannot, and should not, begin lecturing or conversing with your child about respect and honoring their other parent, when their hearts hold bitterness and pain towards him or her, or both of you. Apologize sincerely for causing them pain and allow them to express their emotions. As difficult as the divorce might be for you, it's many times harder for your children, as they have no power over the situation.

You cannot penetrate with your words a heart hardened by hate. They will not be able to honor or respect you, or their other parent wholeheartedly when they harbor resentment toward you. They will also find it difficult if you and you're your ex are fighting, and showing no respect for each other. Forgiveness should come first, and when you get past this level, then it is all right for you to proceed.


This should come from you FIRST, as you cannot honestly teach your kids to respect the other parent if you yourself do not. You will just look like a hypocrite and it will encourage them to imitate your behaviour. Now keep in mind that your children may feel that their trust has been violated because of your divorce, so know where they are coming from, and from there you can rebuild your trust and organize your talk. Your children may feel that, given all that's happened between you two, they are the ones who are acting like adults, and sometimes they are.


The first thing you must do, and probably the most important, is to teach your kids to respect their mom or dad who left the home. Explain to them the importance of respecting their parent's decision. While divorce is never a good example for your kids, respect is always essential. Explain that even if both you and their mom or dad had stayed in the same house, it would have never worked out, as you have both decided on separating for good. Instill in your children, that respect is a choice a person makes. Teach them never to think about their parents in bad terms, much less speak about it in public. In our society, the belief goes that "respect is earned," when in fact it is given. Make your children understand that honoring and respecting their parent is important, regardless of their feelings towards them.


Help your children understand that divorce is not the end of the line of communication between you and your ex. This means they can still communicate with their mom or dad through cellphones, social media, and of course, if the other parent has a decent house where he or she lives, then they can also go for sleepovers.


Encourage your kids to keep their mom or dad updated when there are important events in their life, e.g. - birthdays, parties, conferences, competitions, achievements, etc. Take note that communication is the bread and butter in ALL relationships, and without it, bonds gradually weaken and break. When your children do ask for your consent to visit your ex and there are no issues with that, let them go by all means, as this can be very positive in regaining trust and respect between parent and child. Just remember to set limitations on their time and stay, and make sure that they are not disregarding academics and other important things.

Insisting Values vs. Control


If after your divorce, your child has become troubled, or is getting into trouble when before they weren't, then for many reasons, reasserting control over your children may become difficult. It will do you good to keep control of yourself. Be firm and patient. Keep reminding them of their curfews, homework, tidiness, etc.

Remember that instilling and communicating your values on them, is much more important than control. Don't give up if it seems like your children are not responding to your counsel. Over time, your values will seep into their consciousness and they will realize, perhaps gradually, that respect is of paramount importance to every person.

Tips, Tricks and Warning

  • Keep your eyes, not on the problem, but on the bigger picture and have faith.
  • It starts with you!
  • Try to find a suitable place or environment when talking to your kids regarding this delicate matter.
  • Never allow disrespect for you or your ex to go unpunished.
  • If you need help disciplining your child, perhaps you will need a counsellor to assist you with it.
  • Ask for help from your close relatives in instilling respect to your kids.
  • There is nothing in this world, that more love can't cure.

Questions and Answers

How can parents handle children disrespecting parents after divorce advice?

Understand their feelings.

Parents should consider the feelings of his or her child. They cannot blame their child for why he or she is acting inappropriately, because for them, the divorce is the most stressful and worst moment in their lives. It will always bring sadness and loneliness. They may be confused about all the changes that are happening. Parents cannot avoid the child feeling uncertain or angry at the prospect of divorce. Of course, as parents, they are responsible for helping their children cope with the situation. Even though the parents are separated, they still need to provide stability. They should also try to support all their children's needs to make them feel that they are still complete.

It's very common for children to feel angry and anxious when they are facing the issues around separation and divorce of her parents. However, there are lots of ways that parents can handle this situation. If you are the parents, you should expand your patience, understanding and love for your children, because for them, divorce can make them feel a loss of hope in life.

  1. 1
    You must consider your child's feelings
    It's really hard to accept when your parents suddenly each have their own homes, while the children are left feeling alone. Try to understand what they feel about their situation. It's not easy to set things right in their minds, even when everything in their thoughts may not be correct. You know that you may not be able to solve their problems, nor change their sadness to happiness, but what is important is that you acknowledge their feelings rather than dismiss them.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No| I need help
  2. 2
    Show interest in what they are doing
    They need to be appreciated and loved by their own family, and not have to try and find love from others. Of course, they always want to feel special. That way, you can help your child adjust to new circumstances in life.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No| I need help
  3. 3
    Try to encourage your children to share their feelings with you and then listen to whatever they say
    Show your consideration. Let yourself become his or her friends. This will help them to release and share their dissatisfaction and frustration about the things that they had not expected. At first they may have difficulty expressing their feelings to you, but you need to do your best to convince them to talk to you.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No| I need help
  4. 4
    Let your children express all their resentment and accept the fact that you make mistakes
    Children might be afraid to share their true feelings because they know you will get hurt, but let them know that you will accept whatever they say.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No| I need help

These are just some of the possible things that parents can do to handle a situation like this.

  1. 1
    Divorce is a difficult ordeal, not just for couples, but more so for the children involved
    It is natural for children to feel mixed and confusing emotions about the divorce of his or her parents, especially if both parties are not on good terms with each other. It poses tedious demands and pressure on the kids on whose side to take between the two opposing parties.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No| I need help
  2. 2
    Children could display sudden deviations in their behavior which could either express aggressiveness or withdrawal, either way, these can be forms of rebellion or animosity towards their families being torn apart
    Children might appear to be disrespectful, which is actually their way of expressing hurt and helplessness at this difficult time.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No| I need help

Here are tips on how to deal with disrespectful behavior in children:

  • The most important thing is to give them space whenever they need to and to open the communication lines with your children.
  • What they need at this point is understanding, assurance, and love that everything will turn out for the best because no matter what happens, their parents will always support and love them through anything, together or apart.
  • More so, it is crucial that they be included in discussions of custody or visitation rights for them to be aware of all aspects.
  • Listening to your children is important at this point.

It takes a great deal of maturity, mutual respect, and love to handle divorce. The important thing is to be able to settle the issues with your children by taking their feelings into consideration, and trying not to be so harsh when it comes to punishment. Children need to feel that they have a strong family circle to depend on and that they are of utmost priority, regardless of whether their parents decide to divorce or not.

Is it normal for children disrespecting parents after a divorce?

Yes, it is normal for children to be disrespectful to their parents sometimes after a divorce. There are several reasons why they may disrespect their parents. One of the reasons is that they could be disappointed in their parents because of their decision to separate, especially if the reason for separation is because one parent had an affair. Most children do not understand why the situation is happening in their family.

Often, children become rebellious after their parents get a divorce. They will think that their once happy family life is gone. They will feel that they come from a broken family. They may be afraid of going to school because of bullying. They have no one to blame except their parents, and this is why sometimes children will disrespect them.

If this happens, you should always give truthful and convincing reasons why both of you have to separate. You should show your kids that you are having some of the same kinds of feelings they are about divorce. Children will eventually be able understand your reasons, as long as you are firm and let them know you feel like you have made the right decision. Even after a divorce, both of you should still stand together as parents for your children and not abandon them.

Yes it is very normal to see behavioral changes in children after divorce. Divorce is a stressful thing for everyone, especially the children. A child disrespecting one or both parents could come from them feeling torn between the parents. The best thing you can do is sit down with the child and let them know that you both still love them very much and the divorce is not their fault. As time passes the child will most likely come to terms with the divorce. Until then, you could see many changes in the child's behavior. When I was a child and my parents went through a divorce, the best thing for me was going to see a psychologist. Usually there are state psychologists that state provided insurance will cover. Contact your local health department and they can point you in the right direction. Your kid needs someone to talk to and voice his or her opinion on the divorce. It may even help for both the parents to be there for a session or two so that you can explain to them why you are getting a divorce.

How would you recommend punishing disrespect?

As the parent that left the marital residence, I have time with my children about half the time and can't always address behaviors as they happen. My 14 year old hung up on me and I will be addressing it with him the next time I see him. but I am not quite sure of the right tactic to take.

VisiHow QnA. This section is not written yet. Want to join in? Click EDIT to write this answer.

If you have problems with any of the steps in this article, please ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.


Article Info

Categories : Relationships

Recent edits by: Nuance, Alma, Eng

Share this Article:

Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 3,896 times.


Thank Our Volunteer Authors.

Would you like to give back to the community by fixing a spelling mistake? Yes | No