Teenage children can often be the toughest kind to parent. This is a point in a child’s life where he or she is testing the boundaries of a parent’s authority and trying to carve out their own identity. Many parents who divorce when children are at this age are left wondering if the separation worsens this rebellious behavior.
In a recent blog post, the executive director of the National Family Resiliency Center, Inc., said that this can be the case, however, it all depends on the parents and children involved. Not every teenage child is going to react to divorce in the same way.
For instance, some teens that were confined to a home where their parents constantly fought might be relieved that they finally decided to divorce. Other teenagers might start to develop worries about their parents and the family’s financial well-being. They can also mistakenly absorb some of the blame, feeling like they played a part in driving a wedge between their parents.
The fact of the matter is that divorce presents major changes in a household. Children – and even adults, for that matter – react differently to change.
Some of a child’s stress may sprout from the fact that they hold their feelings in, thinking that unloading it on a parent will only add to their mom or dad’s stress. Open and honest communication is a must between parents and teenage children.
Parents should stress making time for their children and consider establishing rules for their dialogue. These rules can be as simple as not interrupting each other or remaining nonjudgmental. Both children and parents must speak honestly and show emotion.
Divorce does not have to contribute to a teen’s natural rebellious behavior. It is very possible for parents to maintain a civil relationship with their teenage children. Parents can also limit the stress on their children by being civil with each other throughout the divorce process.
Source: Huffington Post, “Adolescence And Divorce: Helping Families And Teens Cope,” Risa Garon, March 2, 2013