Divorcing with children of any age comes with unique challenges, but there are specific issues you must address when you have a teenager. Teenagers are old enough to understand divorce more than young children, which can make it an even more damaging process for them.
If you have an adolescent child, it is crucial to be supportive of him or her before, during and after your divorce. Here are a few ways you can guide your teenager through the breakup of your marriage.
Allow your teen to vent
Your teen may immediately want to withdraw from everyone and bottle up his or her feelings. This is an unhealthy way to cope with the split. Make sure your teenager knows it is acceptable to feel anger about the situation. Be ready to be on the receiving end of some resentment and criticism. Do not make your child feel guilty for expressing frustration about the circumstances.
Avoid giving your teen too many responsibilities
Leaving your spouse can make it difficult for you to take care of daily tasks. When your teen is with you, you may want him or her to help you with additional chores around the house. While this is sometimes necessary, be conscious of how much pressure you are putting on your son or daughter.
Do not use your teen as a confidant
You may misjudge the maturity of your teen. While it is natural to have the desire to lean on someone you love and care about, be careful about confiding in him or her. This puts a lot of emotional responsibility on your teen. Your adolescent son or daughter should not feel like he or she needs to take care of you. Instead, reach out to family members, friends or therapists.
Ending your marriage may be hard for you and your teenager to deal with, but you can make it through together with the right help.