Divorce is a difficult experience for parents and children alike, filled with sadness, anger, fear, uncertainty, and a range of other strong emotions. While it is a challenging time for children of all ages, teens may find it especially hard to deal with their parents’ divorce at a time in their life that may already be marked by major transitions and heightened emotions. As a parent, you should be prepared for the impact your divorce will have on your teenagers and do your best to help them cope with the changes that come.
Common Responses to Divorce For Teen Children
Many teens struggle with their parents’ divorce and react in ways that may have a negative impact on their lives. Some of the most common effects of divorce on teens include:
- Academic Performance Issues: During a divorce, increased stress, lack of sleep, and difficulty focusing may all cause your teen’s grades and enjoyment of school to suffer.
- Behavioral Issues: You may find that during and after your divorce, your teen lashes out at both parents more often or rebels against your rules and requests in ways that they had not before.
- Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms: Some teens turn to substance abuse in response to their parents’ divorce, and they may also be more likely to engage in early, unsafe sexual activity.
- Difficulty in Relationships: Divorce can put a strain on teens’ relationships not only with their parents but also with their friends and peers. They may also find it difficult to form and maintain romantic relationships after seeing their parents’ marriage fail.
- Mental Health Issues: Divorce can contribute to a teen’s depression or suicidal thoughts and cause actions that require immediate attention and care.
Helping Your Teen Child Adjust to Divorce
It can be difficult to focus on the emotional needs of your children when you are struggling yourself, but the more you can be there for your teen children, the better you can help them work through their feelings and prevent some of their more dangerous and unhealthy reactions. Devoting time to talk to your children and listen to their concerns can make a big difference, as can continuing to support them in their interests. Asking for their input in your parenting plan can also help to ensure the arrangement works for everyone in the family. Most importantly, always be on the lookout for behavior that may indicate depression or other mental health issues that require help from a professional.
Contact a DuPage County Family Law Attorney
The attorneys at Davi Law Group can help you reach a resolution in your divorce with as little of a negative impact on your family as possible, and we will advise you on the best way to approach decisions that affect your teenage children. Contact us today at 630-824-3474 for a free consultation with a compassionate Naperville family law attorney.