Being an adolescent comes with a lot of challenges. Your teenage child is experiencing a lot of physical and mental changes that may be difficult for him or her to manage. When you and your spouse end your marriage, this adds another struggle for your teen.
Your teenager may feel like his or her identity and world are falling apart. Helping your child cope with your divorce is crucial to help him or her transition into a healthy adult. Here are some guidelines for helping your teenager while you and your spouse divorce.
1. Expect some resistance
Teenagers often feel resentful and angry regardless of what is happening, so you can expect to witness these emotions during such a stressful time. Your teen may make snarky comments toward you, ignore you or even display rebellious behaviors. When this happens, try to remind your child that you love him or her. If the pushback becomes dangerous or concerning, you may want to talk to a mental health professional about helping your teen.
2. Keep being a parent
Remember that your teenager is not an adult yet. While he or she may be maturing, there is still a lot of growing that needs to occur from now until adulthood. Therefore, you should not assume everything is fine. Offer support, provide routines and enforce rules. No matter how he or she is acting toward you, your teen needs you to be a parent now more than ever.
3. Listen to preferences and concerns
As you figure out child custody and your parenting plan, you may not know exactly how to approach the situation. Remember that if your teen is 14 years old or older, the court will consider his or her preference for custody. Try to understand the choices of your teen and take them into consideration.
Applying these three tips to your situation may help your teen adjust to the new situation.