Teenagers are smarter than most parents want to admit. They are starting to understand that the world isn’t black and white, and each situation has specific nuances – which means every marriage has its nuances.
Unfortunately, teenagers are also the first to notice when their parents fight and on the verge of separating. It causes significant stress on you, your partner and your child.
Four techniques to help your child cope
To ease the stress, you have to rely on your role as their parent to help them process the divorce and transition into a new family dynamic. Luckily, there are some simple techniques you may implement with your teen:
- Let them ask for what they need – Most teenagers will feel anger, confusion, sadness or guilt surrounding their parents’ divorce. However, you need to allow them to express their feelings and ask them what they need from you. Do they need time to process, discuss or just a hand to hold?
- Be fair to your child – You can’t ask your kid to choose sides throughout a separation. It is problematic for you and puts more pressure on your teenager. If you are dealing with issues from your ex, try to visit a family counselor to find solutions that help everyone.
- Sticking to a consistent routine – Children rely on routines, no matter their age. Try to allow your teen to stay in the same school, neighbor and house if possible. It allows them to process the divorce in a safe environment.
- Give them time to accept the divorce – Your kids likely need time to accept the fact that you are separating. It could take weeks or months before your teenager will understand the consequences of your divorce. During this time, you need to offer support and allow them to depend on you for guidance through this enormous change.
While helping your teen, remember to take time for yourself during the divorce. You can rely on friends and family to support you throughout the process; you will be a better partner and parent for it.