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Helping Your Teenager After Separation

Helping Your Teenager After Separation

Adolescents are not immune from the stress divorce creates. Divorce adds to the upheavals in the already turbulent years of adolescence. Any major disruption can be upsetting to young people who want to completely bury themselves in their own private concerns and problems.

 

What might I expect to see if my teenager is not coping with Separation?

  • Teenagers may try to “become the parent” and to sort things out in the family home, this may be financially, practically or with younger siblings.
  • Teenagers may attempt to “grow up” too early and to leave the family home, this can be perceived as easier than remaining between parents conflict.
  • They may attempt to “mediate” or to “carry messages” between parents in an attempt to put things right.
  • May spend more time than usual out of the house with friends rather than parents as this can alleviate some guilt that may be felt as a result of spending time with one parent and not the other.
  • Deciding not to see one parent at all.
  • Teenagers may respond by worrying. This worrying is likely to be generalized to many situations rather than specific things.
  • Reluctance to speak with parents regarding separation and divorce and how they are feeling.
  • May engage in judgment or blame of one parent

 

During this time it is particularly important to:

  • Not to use your teenager as a go between, try to deal directly with the other parent.
  • Not to use your teenager as a confidant to talk through problems you have as parents. They do not need to know.
  • Understand that during this phase teenagers needs can change. If your teenager expresses a wish to live with the other parent do not take it personally.
  • Allow your teenager space to talk and/or to think if needed.
  • Let your teenager know that they are values and loved by both parents.