Valuable Divorce Advice for Parents of Today’s Teens
The decision to end your marriage is never one that you take lightly and there is always a certain level of anguish involved in the process, especially when there are children involved, even when they are older and into their teenage years.
In terms of the divorce process itself and what is involved, you may want to visit Ronald Saper Attorney at Law for more details. When it comes to divorce advice for parents with teenage kids, here are some points to consider.
From a teenagers perspective
Divorce is never easy for anyone caught up in it, and it would be wrong to assume that if you have teenage children, they may well be able to cope with the change in family dynamic better than someone younger.
Teenage are already often struggling to come to terms with the transition from childhood to becoming an adult and this means that they can become emotionally affected by the prospect of their parents going through a divorce.
It is perfectly normal and entirely understandable that a teenager, who might be facing some hormonal challenges already, could be affected by their parents getting divorced. One of the issues to address is that they may experience feelings of anger, resentment and even betrayal about the situation, and if their feelings are not adequately discussed or recognized, it could lead to them experiencing relationship problems themselves at a later date.
A teenager who witnesses their parents going through what may even been an acrimonious separation, may well experience commitment issues with their own relationships, when they see how it can all end.
It is not about feeling guilty as their parent, because you are subjecting them to this situation, but more about recognizing that they could be experiencing this wide range of emotions. If you understand how divorce might be affecting them, you can at least discuss how they are feeling with them and hopefully address any negative emotions before they potentially leave their mark.
Although you may be less consumed with the issue of childcare responsibilities when you have teenage children in your family, it is still suggested that you try to agree on a co-parenting arrangement that is about as equal as you can get it in the circumstances.
What can happen when one parent is denied the sort of access to their children that they would like, is that this can result in children feeling like they are being torn between the two. When there is such an obvious imbalance between the parenting arrangements, this can prove to be quite traumatic for the children and can even breed resentment and anger.
Try to get as close to a 50/50 arrangement if possible, so that your children are likely to be less affected by the separation.
The art of communication
In a number of divorces there is often a common theme that develops, which is where each parent attempts to communicate their feelings and observations through their children.
It is a fundamental error to attempt to make your child a messenger, and it could even have the effect of causing unnecessary stress on them, as they unlikely to be a willing conduit for your negative thoughts and exchanges.
It is a fact of life that some relationships break down to such an extent that neither side wants to talk to the other. If that happens, do not be tempted to use your children as a communication tool as it is unfair on them and there are better ways of getting your point across.
Using email to communicate can work, and it can allow you to make arrangements and discuss things in more formal way and without involving your kids. Do bear in mind however, that emails may well be admissible in court, so be careful with what you say, unless you want in repeating in front of a judge.
Keep it yourself
You may well feel that you can talk to your teenager about your divorce, but as they are at a stage where they are trying to come to terms with their own anxiety issues and feelings, it is not often going to be helpful to throw your divorce details into the mix.
If you need to discuss your divorce with someone, a close friend or even a therapist might be a better option than burdening your teenage child with details of a situation where they are already heavily involved on an emotional level.
Bethany Rice is a family therapist who is a divorced Mom herself. She writes helpful articles covering a range of topics in which she is experienced whether through work or personally.