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Although Ebony has been feeling like she caused her parents' divorce for years, Belinda says she never even realized that her daughter had told her father about the kiss. "I didn't know all of this she carried. We treated her basically like an adult, so I didn't even think it affected her in any way because she saw how we acted in the house," she says.

"But how can you say you treated her like an adult?" Oprah asks. "Because [as] an adult, if you were going to leave, you would explain why you were leaving."

Gary says parents shouldn't wait for their children to approach them with their problems. "I mean, how many of us as teenagers were running to our parents with every problem that we had?"

Instead of waiting, Gary says there is a talk that every family should have—one that Gary and his wife had with their own five children. "We identified two adults that we trust and they trust in their lives, and we all met together and we said, 'Listen, we want you to come to us. Of course we'll never judge you. We'll always love you. But here's the deal. If you don't feel like you can come to us, here's two people you can go to individually and we give them permission to make decisions on our behalf for you—and they never have to tell us, if that's what's going to work for you.'"

These go-to parents can act like substitute parents for your children in a time of need. "That way, at least we know as parents our children are using adults with experience to help guide them, instead of their colleagues," Gary says.

FROM: Children of Divorce Reveal Their Secret Thoughts
Published on January 01, 2006