Raising teenagers can be difficult under any circumstances, but add divorce to what can already be a difficult time in child's life and many parents feel find themselves grasping. We have gathered some of the most important things you can do as a parent to help your teenager manage during your divorce:
- Role Model: Your actions in your own relationship create a role model for how your child responds to interpersonal relationships. Be aware of your actions in front of your child. This is an important time to remember your place as parent, rather than friend to your child. Don't use your teenager as your confidant and resist the urge to spoil your child to compensate for their grief; spoil them with reassurance and love rather than possessions or unwarranted freedoms.
- Co-Parent: Urge your child to form strong attachments with both of its caregivers. By allowing your teen access to both parents they will experience less loyalty conflicts; having to choose one parent over the other. Needless to say, using your teenager as a spy, a messenger, your caretaker, or a weapon will hurt them in the long run. Teenagers are particularly good at picking up on our financial worries; let your teenager be a teen and don't add to their burden by discussing money issues.
- De-tox: While it may be satisfying to engage in toxic behaviors; criticizing your ex-spouse or name calling, this behavior creates suffering for the child. Children understand that they are the products of both their parents; when you put down their parent you are also putting down the child. Don't allow your children to become part of the divorce battle.
- Maintain Routine: To the extent possible create routines and maintain normalcy. Continue with family dinners and homework help. Help children maintain their friendships and encourage children to connect. Create stability where possible.
- Put on your oxygen mask: Taking care of yourself is one of the most important things you can do as a parent going through a divorce. Eat, sleep, exercise and connect with those around you. Be sure to seek help, from a friend, a therapist, or doctor when you need to.
We understand that divorce can be a traumatic experience emotionally, physically and logistically, which is why we have family lawyers here to help. Having an experienced divorce lawyer can make all the difference to your process. Because we focus solely on family law, we understand the dynamics and can help guide you through your divorce. Please contact Elise Buie Family Law Group, PLLC for a free consultation regarding your divorce.