Divorce can be difficult for the whole family. It can be especially tough on children when parents decide to use them as weapons. Specifically, divorce can have a serious impact on teenagers. Since teenagers are more independent than younger kids, parents sometimes turn to them when dealing with the implications of the divorce.
Even though teenagers may have the emotional competence to handle their parents’ separation, it is important to understand that they are still children. They too need support to learn how to cope with their parents’ divorce.
Helping teens deal with divorce — the do’s and don’ts
While divorce will be tough for the entire household, it is important that you do your best to assure your teens that you will always be there for them. Showing a genuine interest in their life and interests can go a long way in giving them the assurance that everything will be alright. Think of ways you can make them draw closer to you so you can go through this rough period together. Encourage them to share their fears, worries and frustrations.
You should be instrumental in helping your teens navigate the complex emotions that come with divorce. It is important to let them know that they can freely share their feelings with you. Here are tips to implement to help your teenager cope with divorce:
- Seek their opinion when making decisions that affect their lives
- Consistently follow through with the rules and discipline
- Help them build a healthy relationship with the other parent
- Attend their extra-curricular activities
- Offer consistent support and affection
Alongside the proactive things you can do to help your teen cope with the divorce, there are a number of things you need to avoid. Here are some of them:
- Using your teen as the messenger
- Disparaging the other parent
- Dragging your teen into the conflict between you and the other parent
For teenagers, divorce can come with many changes. However, it is important that you do everything within your power to help them navigate the upheavals of the divorce unscathed. Remember, with your support, your teen will, like the rest of the children, will get through just fine.