Talking to your teenagers about divorce can be quite difficult. It is very difficult to have a conversation with your child at that point in life since teens go through several different changes, both emotional and physical. In most cases, the divorce is the last thing that the teen needs to see happening.
There are things that you should do and things you should not do. We are going to highlight some of the very important ones every single parent needs to know.
Highlight That Family Relationships Are Going To Be Sustained
After the divorce, family dynamics will change. However, in most cases, relationships will stay the same between the teenager and the rest of the family. Even if this does not happen, it is very important for the teen to feel that family dynamics will remain as solid as possible.
When a divorce happens, children feel many negative things. But, if you look around, you can see that several couples separate and the teenage children are happy. Remember that going from a “normal” family to a new dynamic is quite an enormous stress. Do not take this lightly and reassure your child that they will be a priority.
Highlight That Both Of You Still Love Them
A divorce means the parents separate but this does not mean that the teen is not still loved. This never changes and you should say it. And it is particularly important for the parent that ends up not being the main carer.
Try to regularly make plans and do not cancel them. If you do, it will severely undermine what you say to them in the future about practically anything. Children need to feel loved and you have to focus on that. You have to put it in words that you love your kids no matter what, at any point of their lives.
Highlight That It Is Not The Fault Of The Teenager For The Divorce
Talk to the teenager and make sure they understand what is happening is not their fault and they do not have the responsibility of trying to fix your relationship. There is nothing wrong with saying you are sorry. Discuss the fact that the relationship between two people is the responsibility of those two people.
Teens think they are at fault and they did something wrong. Tell them this is between the mother and the father.
Do Not Say Negative Things About The Partner
Some divorces are really messy. And the parents can end up hating each other. This is when the teen can end up with huge problems understanding everything, especially if one of the partners was responsible for some sort of neglect or abuse. If this is the case, you have to keep things factual. When discussing what went wrong, put your focus on the behavior and how it was bad, not the partner.
Believe it or not, this is one of the most important things to remember about discussing the divorce with your teenager. Children should understand what happened by themselves and make up their own opinion. Bad mouthing the partner is not something to do.
Do Not Try To Coach The Teenager To Be On Your Side
Many parents make the mistake of trying to convince their teenage children to say some things when discussing with the former partner. Never do that. The teenager should not actually be influenced into taking sides during the divorce.
Unfortunately, some parents end up unknowingly pressuring their children to take sides. Instead of doing this, you should explain that the child is loved by both parents and that they should not worry about their relationships. Adults are adults and teenagers are teenagers. Do not bring the teen into the argument since this can only cause anxiety and stress.
Always Listen To Everything The Teenager Says
Children should always be taken into account when organizing the future. And you need their input. This is why you should ask questions about all their suggestions and concerns. It is actually very common for the teen to have some great solutions that parents cannot see. Basically, they might know much better than you. Just make sure to highlight the teen is not responsible for making any decision about the couple and the future. These things have to be agreed upon.
If teens are not listened to or even allowed to talk, they end up with constantly growing confusion, fear, and anger. You do not want these to pile up and then explode.
Offer Privacy And Space – And Get Ready For Negativity
Remember that the situation is very difficult for everyone involved, including your children. It will be difficult to work out what is happening and it will take time. In many cases, it actually takes a lot of time, like years. There are many that do not open up and talk with family and friends. Do not pressure them into doing it. You will only make things worse.
Do Not Raise Your Voice
Showing emotion is definitely not a problem. However, screaming at your teenage child is. You might end up reacting unhelpfully. Avoid this and do all you can in order to keep calm. Deep breathing techniques can definitely help you.
We are all humans. But, we should never raise our voices because we are stressed, especially during a divorce.
Stay Clear And Honest
Never make a promise that you cannot deliver. For instance, let’s say you two decided to make changes, like moving out. If this is the case, you have to be precise and clear. You will have to talk about money and you will need to go through several really complicated topics.
Regardless of what you have to talk about, you have to be completely honest and clear. Do not bash the former partner and never lie. This is a huge mistake that you should never make.
Remember that your relationship with your teenager is all about communication and trust. Do not break that trust by saying lies.