Divorce is hard for children of all ages, but teenagers are in a particularly difficult position. They are old enough to understand what’s going on, but they may not have enough life experience to really understand all the ways that the divorce could impact them or their parents.
Teens might think that they can cope with the divorce by simply not being at home, working more or avoiding difficult conversations, but as a parent, it’s important for you to step in and make sure they get the appropriate support that they need. Teens may have questions and concerns, too, though not all of them will be forthright with them.
Talk to your teen about how divorce changes lives
Now is a good time to sit down with your teen and to talk to them about how the divorce may affect your life. For example, if you need to explain new financial circumstances and why your teen may have a lower allowance or be able to do fewer things, take the time to do so. Let them ask questions, and don’t be surprised if they’re unhappy about the changes.
You should always go over the custody arrangements you and the other parent want with your teen, especially if they are already driving. If they have their own vehicle, they may want to have more input over where they go each day. While you do have the final say in their custody arrangements, it’s hard to enforce it when your teen isn’t in agreement. Take time to make sure they understand the arrangements and why you’ve set them up the way you have.
Finally, make time for your teen to ask questions and to come to you with concerns. For example, if your teen has a few hours after school available on Fridays, set aside 20 minutes to have a family meeting and see how they’re doing.
Taking these steps can help your teen more readily adapt to divorce and help them cope with all of the changes that are coming their way. Giving them your time will show that you’re willing to listen and support them as these changes occur.