Teenagers, who are already going through life changes, can find it difficult to cope with their parent’s divorce. Helping your teenager to cope and understand what’s going on with a divorce is important. Here are several things you can do to help your teenager during and after a divorce.
1. Know the Signs of Your Teenager Having a Hard Time with the Divorce
Your teenager is already going through many changes. That can often make it difficult to notice some of the signs your teenager is having trouble with the divorce. However, those signs are there if you look for them. Here are a few:
- An uptick in emotional outcries
- Sudden changes in mood and personality
- Spending more time alone and away from family members
- Trouble at school, such as an increase in altercations or bad behavior
- A sudden lack of interest in things they once enjoyed
- Sleeping problems
- A sudden change in appetite
Sometimes teenagers exhibit erratic or irrational behavior. A divorce can make that behavior far worse.
2. Keep the Business of the Divorce Away from Your Teen
Let your child know what’s going on, but don’t involve your child with every aspect of your divorce. For example, you shouldn’t discuss with your teen the problems you have with the other parent.
Avoid discussing any of the ordeals that stem from the divorce. These aren’t your teen’s problems, and you may just upset them further. You can end up in a situation where your teen feels as if your issues are their issues, which can strain and stress them.
3. Let Your Teen Know it’s Not about Choosing “Sides”
Teenagers need to know they still have two parents. They can love and spend time with both parents. Neither parent should present the situation as choosing sides.
It’s a good idea to allow your teen to spend time with the other parent even if the court order designates specific times and dates. The divorce shouldn’t represent a barrier to your teen’s ability to see each parent.
4. Try to Keep Your Teen’s Routine Static
Whenever possible, try to minimize the impact the divorce will have on your teen’s routine. You don’t want it to upset their life any more than it has to.
If both parents tended to show up at the game or activity, then both parents still should if possible. In fact, a divorce is a good time to establish more time together rather than the opposite.
5. Give Your Teen Opportunity to Express Thoughts and Feelings
If your teen has something to say about the situation, hear them out. If he or she wants to vent, rave, or express displeasure, then let them. Let your teen know they can speak to you, and you will listen. Do not shut them out or marginalize their feelings.
Suggest counseling or reading material they can use to make more sense of the issue. Don’t force anything on your teen, but make sure you present them with options. It’s important for your teen to know their feelings aren’t unjustified and you care about them. Remember you are their support.
6. Show Your Teen the Way by Moving Forward
Show your teen you too have issues with the divorce but are willing to seek guidance and help. Make it clear things are going to be a little different by actively changing the things you need to change. Your teen will see this and know it’s all real but doesn’t have to be negative.
You can help ensure a smooth transition for your teen by making the divorce process quick and efficient. The longer the process drags out, the more it can negatively affect your child. Settling affairs sooner than later will give everybody time to come to grips with the new situation, and work on healing and moving forward.
Free Consultation with Experienced Divorce Attorney David Pedrazas in SLC
At the Law Offices of David Pedrazas, we know divorce can hit children especially hard. Allow us to help you get through this trying time so you can focus on your teen and what’s important. Contact Utah divorce attorney David Pedrazas today for a free case evaluation.