The teen years are tough enough without going through a major trauma, so it is important to recognize the impact divorce can have on a teenager when the storm hits. Here are a few ways to help your teen cope with the divorce of their parents.
Understand that a teenager needs time to process what is going on and will have a full range of emotions to go through. Be patient and allow them the opportunity to express themselves. Give them the flexibility of swinging from one emotion to another as they figure out how to deal with their new reality with the assurance that they are loved unconditionally.
Your teen’s world is suddenly filled with chaos and uncertainty. Make as few changes as possible regarding the day-to-day schedule and keep as close to their regular routine as possible to create a sense of consistency. Both parents should continue to work as a team when it comes to parenting decisions so boundaries and expectations are maintained even with two separate households.
Be the Rock
You are going through an extremely rough time right now and it is easy to fall apart at any given time. However, your teen is likely feeling as though they are to blame in some way and the last thing they need is to have more baggage weighing on their shoulders. Maintain a strong presence so they can go through their emotional rollercoaster and cry on your shoulder. Make sure they do not feel as though they are responsible for keeping you from crumbling.
Hold Your Tongue
During a divorce, it is easy to lash out at your soon-to-bee. However, it is important that your teen does not feel as though they are placed in the center of the madness or being asked to choose loyalty to any one side. Keep the fighting away from your teen’s acute earshot and refrain from badmouthing their other parent to or in front of them. No matter how curious you are, do not ask your teen questions about the other parent or events and people that may be part of your ex’s new life.
Teens do not always readily share their emotions during a divorce so be sure to listen and take cues from their behavioral changes to make sure their needs are being met.