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It doesn’t matter how old your children are; divorce is always going to be hard on them. When you’ve got teenagers in the family, you have some unique challenges to overcome. As a teenager, they already have to cope with peer pressure, acne, schoolwork, body changes, hormones and the opposite sex. Add divorce into the mix, and for many, it feels like their whole world is crumbling. Teenagers are often reluctant to talk about their feelings, which makes things even harder. They may also pose some very awkward questions about your divorce. Questions you’re not ready to answer. However hard things get, the bottom line is that your teenager needs you during this time of transition. Here are some ways you can help them adjust.
Let Other Adults Know
To make things less traumatic for your teenager, it’s going to help if you let other adults know. Explain their situation to teachers, coaches and other interested adults, so they don’t have to keep explaining. Statistics show almost half of marriages end in divorce, so they should know how to handle such a situation.
Deal with Behavioural Changes
Your teenager may exhibit some behavioural changes in response to your divorce. Deal with them as soon as you notice them as this will reduce the chance of them becoming a pattern or escalating.
Provide Someone for them to Talk To
Your teenager might not want to talk to you about their feelings, but they may be able to open up to a neutral third party. Find someone you know is going to be non-judgemental. It might be a family friend, youth worker, neighbour, relative or therapist.
They’re Not a Messenger Service
Don’t use your teenager to spy on or send messages to your ex. This is putting them in an awkward position and forcing them to choose sides as well as trust one parent more than the other.
Remember They Might be Listening
Try not to talk negatively about your ex in front of your children. Of course you’re feeling hurt, but you don’t want your children to feel the same way. Your aim should be for them to come out of the divorce process a stronger and more connected person. Take the moral high road and don’t use them to vent your discontent.
Give Them Some Attention
You may not give your teenager much attention up until now, but they might find it easier to open up to you if you’re doing things together. It’s all too easy to get caught up in the trauma of your divorce and become less available for your children. Try not to let this happen.
Do Fun Things Together
Plan some enjoyable activities because this is a great way for you both to take your minds off things. Have fun at an amusement park, go and watch a funny movie, walk in the park or take a picnic to the beach.
Be Careful Introducing New Partners
Just because they’re young adults, doesn’t mean they’re going to be comfortable when your new partner starts sleeping over. It becomes even more difficult if your divorce is not yet finalised.
It’s not all negative when teenagers parents are going through a divorce. There are some very valuable life lessons to be learnt. Look for the positives rather than back at what was.