While children often have no real say in a divorce, when your kids reach older ages, they begin to have a lot to say about your relationships and how you handle them. When your children are teens, they begin to have their own opinions and ideas of how their life is and will be. Anything that disrupts those plans can seem devastating.
As a parent trying to deal with divorce while also raising a teen, it’s important to find ways to help your teen cope. These are three ways that could help your teen approach the divorce more positively.
1. Encourage discussion
First, make sure you take time with your child to talk about the divorce. It’s better if you and your spouse have a united front during this conversation, since you can both provide support to your teen. It’s okay if you have to have the discussion separately, however, due to concerns about arguments or disagreements. The point of a discussion with your teen is to have him or her discuss concerns, opinions and to give your teen a chance to vent. Don’t reprimand your child for having opinions during this discussion, since it’s important to hear everything he or she has to say.
2. Talk about the benefits of divorce
Over time, it’s good to talk to your child about the benefits of the divorce. He or she, for example, may now have two homes. Perhaps this provides an opportunity to live near different groups of friends or to be closer to activities he or she wants to try. Fewer arguments in the home and more one-on-one time with parents are also positives.
3. Plan time together
Finally, plan time together. Although a divorce can become overwhelming, it’s necessary to make time for your child. Plan parent-child “dates” so you can go out together. Encourage your child to choose activities that he or she likes, which can reduce stress and anxiety.
These are just a few things to do to help your teen get through a divorce. Try them, and you may see your teenager come around to the idea.