Last week my wife and I separated. It's what we're calling a "structured separation," in that we're going to have joint counseling, the separation is definitely for a limited duration (meaning within a certain amount of time we'll either be reconciled or moving to end the marriage), and I am seeing the children on a regular, consistent basis. We have two daughters, ages 8 (will turn 9 next month) and 7. Because of work and weekend commitments (my younger daughter takes ballet has in rehearsals on Saturdays and Sundays), my time with them is limited. I'm talking to my wife and the girls on a daily basis; while they ARE expressing their feelings (not pretending to be happpy or OK with things), I'm feeling very clumsy in my attempts to talk to them when I am with them for more than a few minutes. I'm wondering if anyone here with direct experience (either as a parent or child of divorce)can give me some ideas as far as open-ended, conversation-friendly questions to ask, and maybe give me an idea of how they are experiencing this sad, painful time. I'm not trying to fix or take away their feelings, but I want to do what I can to understand them, give them the freedom and safety to express them, and try and establish healthy communication patterns.