While raising children of any age is challenging, raising teenagers is arguably one of the most difficult challenges a parent will face. There are many stigmas about raising teenagers. Being a teenager is challenging; we’ve all been there. Knowing the high emotions they feel and the stress high school can bring is a lot to deal with.
Parents divorcing presents another challenge for teenagers to overcome with their already high emotions. If you’re the parent of a teen and you’re going through the divorce process, you’ll want to be careful with how you handle the divorce. Keep reading to learn how to help your teen through the divorce process so the entire family can have a smoother experience.
Just like talking with your teen about your divorce is important, it’s crucial to listen to them throughout the entire process as well as once the divorce is final. Divorce can turn their world upside down, so you’ll want to make sure you make every effort to listen to their concerns and understand how they’re feeling throughout the divorce process.
Teens are still children. Yes, they may have a better understanding of what is happening than a younger child, but they are not yet an adult that is capable of fully processing what is going on. Even if they may not share much, try to schedule time for discussions throughout the divorce process and afterward. Giving your teen undivided attention and practicing active listening can be all they need to feel comforted during the divorce process. Listening to them is another way to show you care about how they’re feeling during this difficult time.
Refrain From Sharing Too Much
Both parties in a divorce experience many emotions from anger to sadness and everything in between. It’s easy to feel frustrated with your spouse as you navigate the divorce, especially if the divorce is contested. Dealing with a difficult spouse can make the process drag on and can put extra stress on yourself both mentally and physically.
Regardless of how frustrated and overwhelmed you may feel during the divorce process, refrain from sharing too much with your teen. Although they’re still children, teens are quick to pick up on their parents’ emotions and often mimic what their parents are feeling. The last thing you want is for your teen to portray your feelings on their other parent or feel your negative emotions and stress. Keep venting during the divorce process to friends and older family members and avoid sharing them with your teen or other children and make sure you speak when the teens are not around and could hear. You want to be sure to avoid them developing negative feelings toward the other parent.
Keep a Consistent Routine
Everyone benefits from a routine whether it be a productive morning routine or a workout routine that makes you healthier. Whatever the routine, it’s important to stick to one, especially for your teen’s sake. When their parents are going through a divorce it’s common for them to feel sadness, anger, anxiety, and even depression. Keeping your teen on a consistent routine can be healthy for their mental and physical health during this difficult time. They should wake up at the same time and attend the same extracurricular activities they normally would for them to feel as “normal” as possible during the divorce process.
Eat Dinner as a Family
Your teen’s life is about to change drastically without the other parent present daily. If you have joint physical custody, your teen’s time will most likely be divided between both parents and odds are they’ll be missing their usual dynamic and routine of both parents being present. To make the transition a little easier, eat dinner as a family. If you have other children or family members living in your home then have them join at the same time each night and share a meal.
Divorce can be a very difficult process for teens. Listening to them, refraining from sharing too much information about the divorce, keeping a consistent routine, and eating dinner as a family are all great ways you can help your teen through the divorce process. Our children are our world and we want to do everything we can to love and protect them.
If you’re currently going through a divorce or if you’re searching for a child custody attorney, the family law attorneys at The Law Office of Young, Kuhl & Frick, LLC can help. We’re dedicated to the practice of family law and can help guide you through any family law matter keeping your best interests in mind. With over fifty-four years of combined legal experience, our family law firm is comprised of a team that’s skilled in both negotiation and litigation, handling family law matters from the most complex to the most straightforward.
We have offices in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, and Leawood, Kansas (consultations by appointment only). In addition to our two physical locations, our firm’s family and divorce attorneys have practiced in Jackson, Clay, Cass, Lafayette, and Platte County, Missouri as well as Johnson County, Kansas. Contact our family law firm today to schedule a consultation – we’re able to meet in person or face-to-face via Zoom.