If you are divorced or have considered divorce and have children, then you know that they add to the real cost of divorce. Not just in child support, medical payments, and daycare, children can be much more than that when a marriage ends. Negative comments said by one parent about the other taint the child's impressions of both parents and create new conflicts in the home. Stress that children feel from being bounced between homes, lives, friends, and parents, contributes to the stress that parents themselves can feel. Parents can minimize the hurt and stress their children feel simply by letting the child express their fears and concerns. Putting on our "big kid pants" and putting our negative feelings aside will help our children feel more secure in our homes. Regardless of the comments the other parent states, our best defense is simply to ask, "and what do you think/feel about that?," and let the child work this out on their own. Listening to our children and restating what they have said is one of the best ways to diffuse problems before they begin. The art of listening rather than getting angry will teach our children that they can come to us no matter what. If our child comes home and says, "Mom/Dad said this about you." Simply asking, "How do you feel/think about that?" and then listening will enable our children to come to the best conclusion that based on what they have seen not what they have heard. Next time your child comes home from a visit with something negative to say, simply turn it into a question and let them work out the rest.