Portions reprinted with permission of Cordell & Cordell, P.C.
It seems many of the resources on the Internet are geared for parents with young children. Parents with teenage children often face even trickier challenges.
A child’s teenage years are developmentally crucial. This is typically a time when children move toward independence and rapidly start becoming less and less dependent on parents. Research shows that normal adolescent development is disrupted by divorce. Many children feel their parents are separated from them.
Here are 7 tips for helping your teenager through the divorce process:
- Don’t use your teenager as a confidant.
This mistake often stems from a parent misjudging their teen’s maturity. When your teenager is always around, it’s easy to confide in them. If you need someone to talk to, reach out to friends, extended family or counselors.
- Don’t insult your ex in front of your teenager.
This is one of the worst mistakes a parent can make regardless of their child’s age. Even if it’s difficult, try to promote a healthy bond between your child and your ex.
- Minimize change and establish a routine.
One of the most difficult aspects of divorce for teenagers or children of any age is how it dramatically alters their living arrangement.
They’re now shuffling back and forth between parents, perhaps living in a smaller house, maybe having to switch schools.
Do whatever you can to establish a daily routine that you and your teen can stick to. Set times for after-school activities, homework and dinner and let them have a say in what their schedule looks like.
- Don’t give your teenager too much responsibility.
If you have younger children as well, you might have to ask your teen to take on some additional responsibilities around the house since you’re the only adult around.
Try to limit this as much as possible. Your teen is dealing with enough change and if you give them too much, they’re going to feel like they’re being forced to grow up too fast.
- Let your teenager vent.
Make sure your teen doesn’t become withdrawn and bottle up their feelings. Talk to them about the changes in their life and give them a chance to tell you what they’re going through.
- Get help from the other adults in your teenager’s life.
Ask your extended family, friends and teen’s teachers to be on the lookout for behavioral changes. Your teen might act differently when they’re not around you and that could lead to some missed warning signs about larger issues.
- Take care of yourself.
In trying to put your teen’s needs first, it’s easy to neglect taking care of yourself. Be aware of your emotions and stress level. If you start to feel depressed or like you’re breaking down, seek help.
For the complete article, go to DadsDivorce.com