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Divorced Dad: Ask Noah

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Q: I recently got divorced from my wife of 26 years. This has put obvious stress on my two daughters. They're already pulling away and being disrespectful towards me. What can I do to stop this trend?

A: You can't expect a single action to provide an immediate fix. Your children are mourning the loss of their nuclear family. It is case-specific, and each daughter's individual process should be honored.

Here are the tips:

  1. DON'T force the issue. Remember you will never get divorced from your daughters. Acknowledge and accept that while they might be distancing themselves presently, your relationship with your daughters will continue to evolve. Should they want to reach out, remain available and be honest with them overall.
  2. DO remember to keep parenting. If one of your daughters is disrespectful toward you or your ex-wife, it is still your responsibility to say and do something. Divorce doesn't give them carte blanche to behave any way they wish.
  3. DON'T let obvious guilt dictate behavior. No one wants to feel like they've let their children down, there's a tendency to want to fix all issues simultaneously. This frequently translates to financial compensation. Be careful not to use your wallet as a means of keeping them close.
  4. DO listen attentively when your daughter's decide to voice their thoughts and feelings. Hear what they have to say with open ears. Accept a range of emotions: anger, fear, happiness, confusion, love, etc. Remember not to project your own feelings onto them.

This change will soon become the new normal. It's just going to take time.

As always, questions and comments can be sent to ASK NOAH at nskass@gmail.com.

I wish you all the best, and have a wonderful weekend.

Noah

Noah Kass is a psychotherapist specializing in addiction, relationship issues and work stressors. He has been Clinical Director at The Dunes: East Hampton and Realization Center in Union Square. Mr. Kass was a frequent guest on MSNBC's "The Dylan Ratigan Show," featured in a segment called "Kass' Couch" and regularly blogs for The Huffington Post.

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