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10 Tips to support your teen child before and after divorce

For spouses, and their children, divorce is an adverse situation. For the partners directly involved, this likely wasn’t the result you had planned on. Still, after numerous trials and attempts at saving the marriage sputtering out, divorce is now the reality. Divorce can be mentally and physically exhausting, but the newfound truth, once it’s finalized, can be freeing for some, while others may take a while to recover.

For teens, emotions of confusion, anger, resentment, and anxiety, among others, can bubble up unexpectedly when their parents get divorced. Many don’t truly understand why or may think the divorce is their fault. It can be shocking for a teenager’s mind.

The teenager knows the divorce will affect them, but how? The questions below are a few examples of what your teenage child may be asking themselves.

  • Will they have to change schools?
  • Make new friends?
  • Will I live with my mom, dad, or both?
  • Are my parents divorcing because of me?

Due to the shock factor of divorce, sometimes children can be neglected, but they are trying to process just as many emotions as you are and need support as well.

Your teenage child may not want to talk about it, but adhering to the following tips could ease their anxiety and help them adjust before and after the divorce process.

  1. When around your children, do your best to keep your emotions in check. It’s okay to break down during traumatic times to relieve stress, but the child will process the situation better if they’re able to view an emotionally stable figure.
  2. Your teenager will act out, stay patient with them, ride the wave, and set boundaries as you are also experiencing erratic emotions.
  3. Unless vital due to abusive conditions, both parents should stay involved with the children.
  4. Even if you don’t agree, support what they have to say.
  5. The more people your teenage child can speak to, the better. Help facilitate their growth during this time of uncertainty by seeking out another sounding board for them. This person could be a relative, therapist, or mentor.
  6. Don’t drastically adjust their routines.
  7. Don’t drastically and suddenly change their living arrangements. If this needs to be changed, do so gradually. Teens desire consistency and stability.
  8. Make your decisions in the best interests of the child. If you can’t, the court will.
  9. Learn the signs of stress and anxiety in teens so you can spot them and know when your support is needed.
  10. Take whatever steps are needed to adjust positively and provide yourself with a healthy mental state. Your child will take notice of this, and it will help them adjust as well.

Lastly, understand that everything will be okay. Divorce is not the ideal situation, but support and strength can go a long way toward a brighter future.

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