Talking to Teens About Divorce
Raising a teenager can be a complicated experience for any parent. Teens crave independence but are still very reliant on their parents. While they want to break away from their childhood identity and routine, they still crave the stability of home. When stability in the home is shaken up by an impending divorce, a teen’s world can be quickly flipped upside down. The way that parents talk to teens about divorce can impact on how they handle the news initially and move forward within the new family structure. Here are some tips for talking to teens about divorce.
Share the News Early and Do It Together
When talking to teens about divorce, it is important not to blindside them or conceal too much information. As parents, be sure to share the news with your teens together. Delivering the message as a united front will help reassure your teens that even though you are ending your marriage, you are still unified as a family and will be into the future. Be sure that you plan a time to tell your teens about your divorce that allows for a few days for them to cope with the news outside of school or other events they are committed to attend. Consider doing so on a Friday evening before a weekend or during summer break when they have more time off from school. Also, don’t wait to tell them the news until right before tons of changes start to occur. Talk to your teens about your impending divorce a couple of weeks in advance. This will give them more time to process what is to come such as a parent moving out and a parenting time schedule going into effect. Give them as much information as you can about how your divorce will affect their lives and schedule. Be open to answering any questions that your teens might have about your divorce, but don’t get into specifics that might hurt their feelings or make them even more upset. You will probably be answering their questions about the divorce for many weeks to come, so prepare yourself for the ongoing talks about what is happening.