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Helping Your Teen Cope with Divorce

Slammed doors, angry silence, dangerous risk-taking. Normal teen behavior or teen reactions to the parents’ divorce? It can be hard to tell.

Divorce is hard on teenagers, and they may engage in rebellious behavior as a result. For teens, this change comes at a time when they already may be overwhelmed with the transition out of adolescence. However, with your love, support, and guidance, they can come through it just fine. The following tips will help you guide your teenager through this transitional period:

Let your teen be a teen — Hanging out with friends is very important to your teenager’s development. If your son or daughter wants to be with friends at the mall during your parenting time, let it happen. Your child will appreciate your flexibility and you will gain in the long run. Teens often have very full lives with extracurricular school activities, jobs and friends. Family is often on the back burner, even in families with no divorce. Don’t forget that.

Listen to your teen — Your teen may experience a broad range of emotions during this time. Be a good listener anytime your teen opens up and wants to talk.

Work together with your ex-spouse — Don’t speak negatively about your ex-spouse in your teenager’s presence. Your teen needs both parents in her or his life. But recognize that teens often try to pit parents against each other to get what they want. You and your ex-spouse should agree on general rules and be consistent.

Be patient — Your teen is facing a challenging situation. If the road is a little rocky right now, don’t worry. Your teen will come around if your relationship was strong before the divorce. The best thing you can do is let your child know that you understand what he or she is going through and suggest that things will get better in time.

Your teen is likely to come through your divorce just fine. Contact an experienced Pinellas County divorce attorney to learn more.

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