When you have a teenaged child and decide to get a divorce, you’re in a unique position. Your child may be old enough to take care of themselves on their own most of the time or already be driving and working. You may have a younger teen who is capable of making decisions and making it clear what they do or do not want to do.
Teens can be particularly challenging during a divorce because they are more independent and strong-willed. Teens are more likely to hide their feelings, though, so it is still important to pay close attention to them and to make sure you’re providing them with the support that they need.
What are some ways you can help your teen adapt to divorce?
There are several ways that you can help your teen through this divorce. The first thing you can do is to talk to them about the decision to divorce. An older teen may want to know more specifics than a younger teen, but remember to keep things simple. Be clear about your decision to separate and make it clear that it has nothing to do with your child’s influence or behavior.
Another thing to do is to sit down with your teen and the other parent to talk about custody. You do still need to have a custody plan while your child is under 18, but they may have an opinion on what they’d like to do that you should consider. For example, your teen may want to stay at the same school and be with their friends, so if one of you plans to move, they may opt to stay with the parent who remains in the local area.
Finally, remember that a teenager can be just as affected by divorce as any other child. It’s your responsibility to help them understand what they’re going through and to provide them with guidance that helps them grow and adapt to the changes. This can be a frustrating time in their life, but the right support goes a long way. If they have a hard time adapting, you may want to consider therapy or other alternatives to get them more psychological attention.