While every divorce with children is challenging, parents of teenagers will face different challenges than parents of younger children during and after their divorce process. For one, talking to a teen about your divorce will be different than talking to a younger child because your teenager is more mature and deserves to have a more adult conversation about the breakup. Also, your teen may have valuable feedback in terms of describing his or her needs and wishes as you transition into post-divorce life.
Here are two things to keep in mind while talking with your teen about the divorce process:
Involve your teenager in the decision-making process to some degree
If your teenager is mature enough to make decisions, you may want to listen to his or her ideas about child custody and visitation schedules. However, you may also want to be careful that your teen doesn’t simply want to live with your ex-spouse because your ex-spouse spoils him or her and fails to provide discipline. Also, when listening to your teen, remember that he or she has yet to fully mature and may not have the full capacity to cope with all of his or her emotions.
Be patient if your teen blames you for the divorce
It’s not uncommon for teenagers to form an opinion about whose fault the divorce was. Be patient with your teenager and don’t engage in fights about who is right or who is wrong. At the end of the day, your teen is entitled to his or her own opinion — and it’s normal for teens and their parents to be in conflict with each other. Be the best parent you can be and in time the situation should improve. Eventually, your teen will mature enough to know that divorce isn’t necessarily anyone’s fault.
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