When parents divorce, they may understandably worry that their young children will have difficulty dealing with the new circumstances. Parents of teens, however, might not anticipate having as many issues. After all, teenagers often seem to have one foot out the door of the family home anyway. It’s easy to see them as almost grown and be taken by surprise when they react negatively to the news of the impending divorce. Parents in Illinois can help mitigate their teens’ reactions by understanding how to help them deal with their feelings and overcome their insecurities.
The first step is to be prepared for an angry and hostile response from your teenager. Approximately 20% to 25% of teens whose parents are divorcing will experience problems directly related to the divorce. Although there is a chance your teen will handle things well, it pays to plan for the worst-case scenario. Divorce takes an emotional toll on the entire family, and teenagers certainly aren’t immune to that. They are likely to act out in a variety of ways. Some problems to look for include poor academic performance, trouble sleeping, depression, behavior problems at home or school and irritability with siblings and others.
The best way to help your teen through your divorce is to keep an amicable relationship with your ex-spouse. While that may seem difficult, if not impossible, the biggest factor in how well a teen handles a divorce is how well their parents get along. Try to work with your ex on developing a co-parenting plan you can both follow. Teens do better when the rules at both houses are consistent. In addition, be present for your teens. Let them express their feelings, positive and negative, for both parents.
If you are going through a divorce, a family law attorney could advise you on how to ensure the best possible outcome for your case. The issues that arise during a divorce can be complex and having someone to advocate for you may make a big difference.