Three ways to help your teen while going through a divorce

As moody and uninterested as teens can be, they thrive in their daily routines. Your teen might act like they don't want to talk about their feelings. They might spend their day glued to their phone. Going to the beach with friends is a priority. Don't forget that their interactions with you are important, too.

Remind teens that you are divorcing your spouse, not them

No matter how old your children are, the decision to divorce affects them. Young children are affected by divorce differently than teenagers. Teens sometimes feel guilty. They often believe that the divorce is their fault. They question if they could have prevented it or if they did something wrong.

You should consider these three factors when it comes to divorce and your teen:

  • Communication: How you communicate with your spouse has an impact on your teen. Teens often feel like they are being asked to choose sides. They pick up on negative comments. If you are going through a divorce, it is best to try to keep communications civil. Work on how you act and speak with one another throughout the process and adjust communication tactics as appropriate.
  • Parenting plan: Co-parenting in the midst of a divorce can be especially difficult. Both parents should consider the proper custody arrangement and parenting plan, both temporary and long-term, to help organize functions with your teen. Keep in mind after school activities, holidays and milestone events for your teen such as prom and graduation. Rules, and how to enforce them consistently, will be important to discuss.
  • Teen's voice: While teens do not make the decision to divorce, it is important their voice is heard. Take time to listen to their feelings. Encourage them to be open and honest. Teens are at a point in life where they care about the opinions of their friends who are likely giving them advice. Be mindful of this and address the concerns they raise, even if they seem unreasonable to you.

Divorce can cause your teen to become emotional. You can remind them that there is no right or wrong way to feel about your divorce.

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