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Supporting your teenager during divorce

On Behalf of | Apr 18, 2024 | Divorce, Parental Rights & Responsibilities |

Adolescents tend to act more independently during divorce. Seeing their parents struggle may make them feel obligated to take on more responsibilities at home or find ways to cope alone. Your teenager may appear mature and confident, tempting you to lean on them. However, they are not yet adults. Older children need as much support, if not more, as younger children do.

The hidden struggles of teenagers during parent divorce

Teenagers respond to divorce in different ways. However, it’s common for adolescents to distance themselves from their parents. What they say and do may give the impression that they are unaffected, but this can be misleading.

As a parent, consider looking beyond what they show you. You may start to notice changes in behavior, signs of stress, trouble sleeping or declining academic performance. Additionally, it is common for teenagers to engage in risky behaviors following a divorce, highlighting the need for your attentive care and guidance.

How to help your teenage child

It’s natural for teenagers to grieve over their parents’ divorce, sometimes taking the side of one parent or viewing both as the enemy. They might feel isolated, believing that no one can understand their struggles, which can lead to acting out.

This is where it becomes vital to assert your role as a parent. Provide your teenage child a safe space to express their feelings without judgment. If they prefer to talk to other trusted adults such as a teacher, coach or extended family members, respect their choice to do so.

To lessen their self-blame and fears of abandonment, consider co-parenting peacefully, maintaining consistent discipline measures and keeping your child informed about changes to establish stability.

Divorce can be consuming, but it’s important to remember that this affects your children, too. Even if your teenager appears mature, you are still their parent, and they need you. Staying attuned to your teenager’s needs may provide them a stronger chance of emerging from this experience unscathed from the potential negative impacts of divorce.