Change is tough. When you combine multiple major life changes — a child’s teenage years and a divorce in the family, in this case — situations tend to get out of hand quickly.
Even if things seem chaotic, it is often relatively easy to start on the path towards guiding your teenager through this transition. You may even have more preparation than you expect.
- Be compassionate
Very few people take divorce lightly. If you come to this point in your relationship, then it is probably because ending your marriage is the best possible thing you could do for your family. Of course, your teen is likely to challenge this decision.
You are probably in a position to help with the emotions that many children experience — you may have experienced periods of denial, frustration and bargaining at some point during your marriage. These are all typical stages accepting loss and, as you may remember from personal experience, they all take time.
- Be thoughtful
There is no shortage of advice out there when it comes to teens and divorce. Regardless of the source and the intent behind these messages, they are all still incomplete if they do not take your unique situation into account.
If you take the time to read articles online, listen to friends or even engage professional help, make sure you also pause to consider which pieces of advice might work best for your family. Similarly to the legal side of divorce, the emotional and social sides often require some personalized attention to get the best possible outcome.
There is very little in an average teen’s life that would serve as preparation for dealing with divorce in the family. As a result, you might face misunderstandings, assumptions, fears and a number of other hurdles when guiding your kids throughout the process. Never be afraid to reach out for help — you might be surprised at how much you get.