How To Support Your Teen During Your Divorce
Divorce can be a difficult legal matter for all involved. In some cases, this goes beyond the couple calling it quits, including children who are involved in the breaking up of a family. While it’s never easy for kids at any age, it’s tough on teenagers as they deal with other emotional struggles brought on through school life, puberty, and just life’s general angst. If you’re a parent, here are a few ways you can support them through divorce proceedings.
Don’t make your teenager your therapist.
Remember, a divorce case weighs heavily on children like it does the splitting spouses. Just because your teenager is not directly speaking with divorce and family law attorneys like you are, it doesn’t mean they’re your confidante. Your child is not meant to be a sounding board in a situation like that, as it involves their other parent or a co-parent who has become a family member over the past few years.
There are enough challenges for your teen during this time, from hefty workloads at school to hormonal changes, so don’t add to the difficult time. However, don’t feel like you can’t vent those feelings. Reach out to a trusted friend or work with a professional therapist to better address the stresses you’re experiencing through a legal separation or divorce.
Keep them focused on their goals.
Teenagers respond to divorce in different ways, but the dissolution of marriage shouldn’t force a teen to give up on their aspirations. If your child is on the honor roll, emphasize the importance of their studies. If they feel stressed out, talk out these personal issues to understand what has led them to put their studies on the back burner.
College scholarship organizations do monitor a teen’s achievements in and out of the classroom, but there needs to be some consistency from what they see as a rising star to afford an informed decision when picking recipients. If teens excel in their extracurricular activities, be sure to be there, front and center, for games and events to emphasize the importance. This goes for you and your former spouse.
Maintain the rules as you did before.
It’s important that a legal disagreement between you and your ex doesn’t break consistency in the rules in your households. It’s really easy for one parent to want to take on the role of “fun parent” and have the house that high school kids want to hang out at, where the rules are limited and there’s no curfew at night. It’s important that regardless of the divorce proceedings, you and your ex are on the same page when it comes to rules and discipline.
The next steps for you and your family need to have some consistency. When it comes to children, whether they are kindergarteners or high school seniors, there needs to be at least some amicable behavior, making love for the children a priority, especially when it comes to sharing in crowning achievements.
Work with your teen on a custody schedule.
While the rules need to stay the same, ask your teen about how they feel throughout the divorce process, especially when it comes to visitation and parental rights. It’s a great way for your teenager to be able to bring their own schedule into the mix and not have to rely on a calendar made blindly in the legal process. The last thing you want to do is mess with a high school student’s studies or extracurricular activities because of legalities.
It’s important for young people to be able to convey any questions about custody or divorce to those other than their parents. If your child is curious about the process, allow them to be informed by your divorce lawyer. It will only help your attorney to better achieve the best outcome possible during this difficult time.