Adolescence is a confusing enough period as it is, but when you add in the stresses of nebulous family dynamics, teens can feel like they’re caught in a whirlwind. From honest conversations to focusing on flexibility, here’s how to make divorce easier for your teenager.
Give an Honest Explanation
Teens are perceptive and smart, so offering platitudes and generalizations won’t help them make sense of the situation. Explain things honestly without blaming your partner or making your child feel like they need to take sides. Depending on the situation, this can be a fine line to walk, but you don’t want to create loyalty conflicts, as they can create severe emotional pain.
Let Them Respond
After you talk to your child, don’t end the conversation without listening to their thoughts. Allow them to express their true feelings about the situation, even if they’re not supportive of the decision just yet. Engaging in honest discussions is one of the best ways to help your child come around to the massive life changes that come next.
It’s also essential to remember that your child may not want to talk about it right away. Don’t force the issue—give your teen some time to think if they don’t have anything to say after you tell them. Learning that your parents are separating is a lot to process.
When your kids switch back and forth between houses, you might feel like you rarely get to see them, especially when they spend free time with their friends. Stay flexible and allow them to create their own life while being an advisor and caregiver when they need it.
That doesn’t mean they can do anything they want, but make sure the boundaries you set allow your kids to feel comfortable engaging with the world around them. Flexibility can feel even more difficult when parenting from afar, so talk to your teens, and find ways to give them autonomy while they enjoy activities with you.
Now that you know how to make divorce easier for your teenager, keep lines of communication open, and encourage your child to express themselves.