Does everything seem intensified with your teens? Feelings, beliefs, disappointments, fears and hopes? Parenting teens is often challenging. Add to that their parents going through a divorce and it can get even trickier. As a mom, how do you help your children through this difficult time? Here are some practical tips to guide you in explaining the divorce to your teens and listening to their needs as they adapt to the changes.
- Open and Honest Communication: Have open, honest, and age-appropriate conversations with your teens. Assure them the divorce is not their fault and that both parents love them. If you and your spouse can both be present when you explain the situation (and you can do so without blaming each other), your teen may be less likely to feel they have to take sides or choose between you.
- Encourage your teens to express their emotions. Teenagers often experience emotions more vigorously than younger children and may react by pulling away. Whether it is anger, sadness, or confusion, validate their feelings and let them know it is okay to grieve the loss of the family unit as they knew it.
- Maintain Routine: Amid the upheaval of divorce, try to keep as much stability and routine as possible. This can provide a sense of security for your teens during a time of uncertainty.
- Co-Parenting Cooperation: Work with your ex-spouse to establish consistent rules and expectations across both households. This will help your teens adjust to their new living arrangements more smoothly.
- Time Together: Spend one-on-one time with your teen. Engage in activities they enjoy to create positive memories during this challenging period.
- Encourage Peer Support: Encourage your teens to connect with friends. Sometimes, talking to peers who have experienced divorce can be incredibly helpful.
- Seek Professional Help: If your teens are struggling to cope, consider involving a therapist who specializes in divorce-related challenges.
- Be Patient: Understand that your teens’ reactions may change over time. Be patient and ready to adapt your approach as they continue to process the divorce.
- Show a United Front: When it comes to co-parenting decisions, try to present a united front with your ex-spouse. This will reduce confusion and conflict for your teens.
- Consider Mediation for a Peaceful Resolution: To minimize the stress of a contentious divorce, consider a cooperative divorce process like mediation. Divorce mediation can help you both work together to reach agreements that are in the best interest of your family. This alternative to traditional courtroom battles can foster a more positive atmosphere for your teens, as they see their parents working together to resolve issues amicably.
Helping your teens through divorce requires patience, understanding, and a commitment to their emotional well-being. By following these tips and considering mediation as a peaceful resolution option, you can navigate this challenging period with positivity and hope.
Mara Linder, JD, MA is a highly experienced divorce and family mediator. She is a licensed Arizona attorney and holds a Master’s degree in Professional Counseling. With over 31 years’ experience as an attorney, over 16 years as a mediator and many years working in the psychology field, Mara strives to help couples and families move through a more positive divorce process. She has a compassionate and creative approach to mediation which is sensitive to the needs of each party. Mara is dedicated to helping couples avoid the stress and costs typical of litigation and, instead, help families move forward towards peace. You can learn more about her two divorce mediation companies and how a mediator can guide you and your family at https://www.affordablemediationaz.com/ and https://www.modernmediationaz.com/