With more than 50% of marriages failing, there’s no denying there are hundreds of
thousands of teens every year affected by divorce. Often parents become so caught up in their own turmoil that they forget about the impact divorce has on their children, especially teenagers. There’s no denying that the teenage years can be filled with a roller coaster of emotions, and divorce can unfortunately add another layer to this already turbulent time. Whether you’re divorced or in the process of getting a divorce, here are some important tips for communicating with your teenager:
Acknowledge your teen’s feelings. No matter how strong or resilient your teen may be, it’s important to remember that your divorce will affect them in some shape or form. Acknowledging your teen’s feelings, which will likely be a combination of anger and sadness, is the first step to helping them open up and express themselves. By establishing open communication and acceptance of your teen’s thoughts and opinions, you can begin to have a meaningful dialogue with them about why getting a divorce is the healthiest choice for you and ultimately the entire family.
Don’t insult your ex in front of your teen. One of the worst things divorced parents can do is insult their ex in front of their children. Remember, despite how toxic the situation may be, your ex is your child’s parent. Regardless of how contentious things are, it’s important to recognize that insulting your ex is only hurting your teenager, as you’re essentially insulting their DNA. Being cautious about your language and showing respect for the other parent is key in earning your teen’s trust as your divorce unfolds.
Do not discuss legal and financial information with your teen. While your teen may seem like an easy sounding board, it’s best to avoid sharing sensitive legal and financial information with your teen, especially pertaining to your divorce settlement. Burdening your teen with your own issues will only add to their stress, potentially worsening feelings of depression, anger or loneliness. If you feel the need to vent, consider talking with a friend or going to counselor. It’s never a good idea to make your teen your therapist!
Remember, divorce can be traumatic for everyone involved. Following the communication practices above will allow you to navigate the world of divorce while minimizing the negative effects on your child. If your teen daughter is struggling with divorce, call Amy Schule today and learn how life coaching can help!