Advice for talking to children about divorce is everywhere. From self-help books and internet articles to friends and family members, there is no lack of information about the effects divorce can have on children. Advice for speaking to adolescents, however, is less common, but no less important. Adolescents communicate very differently than children, and understanding how to effectively and compassionately communicate with teenagers about important issues can help them navigate this transitory stage of their lives. Parents seeking consultation on how to talk with their teenage children can use these following points as guides for their conversation and research. These points are by no means comprehensive but they can act as jumping-off points for thinking about positive ways to speak with adolescents about divorce.
Let them know it’s not their fault
Often smaller children don’t or can’t understand the implications of their parents splitting up, which means parents have to simplify its consequences. Unlike children, adolescents can understand why these things happen and how it affects their lives. It is important to communicate to them that their parents’ choices has nothing to do with them and that they should not blame themselves for their parent’s decision. Parents should be honest and open if their teenage children have questions about divorce. Encourage them to share their concerns whenever they should arise, or allow them to consult a counselor if they are more comfortable speaking to someone who isn’t their parents.
Adolescence is a turbulent time in a person’s life. Parents need to acknowledge the added stress relationship turmoil causes for their teenage children and learn effective strategies to help them cope with it. Parents should contact the teenager’s teachers and notify them of the situation at home. Having teachers be aware of challenges in their student’s home lives is an effective way to reduce the stress a teen faces. Teachers can extend deadlines for the student and give them extra time to work in class. Being able to ease the stress factors in a teenager’s life will help them cope with this difficult period.
Keep them in the loop
Divorce is a complex process. People require different lawyers to understand it. A child custody lawyer in Erie or a divorce lawyer in Erie can help navigate the intricacies of the legal process. Imagine being a teenager and trying to make sense of what is happening. Keeping an adolescent child informed about the process will lessen their anxiety and stress. Parents can consult a lawyer in Broomfield for explanations about the process and use this information to keep their children informed. If a child asks a question to which the parent does not know the answer, the parent can encourage the child to write down their question so that the parent can relay it to the professional. This simple process can allow the adolescent to learn more about the proceedings and feel involved at the same time. If the lawyer allows it, the parent can set up a consultation in which the teenager can ask questions about their parent’s decision and what it means for them. The adolescent may feel more inclined to open up about issues they may have been shy to bring up with their parents. For parents receiving a consultation, letting your child speak with a lawyer about your divorce in Erie can greatly reduce a child’s anxiety.
Let them have input about their future
Adolescence is a time where one forms their identity and asserts themselves as an individual. While their independence is often curtailed by household chores, school, and curfews, teenagers take every chance they get to feel grown-up and separate themselves from the nest. This is an essential part of healthy adolescence, and parents must understand how splitting up can impact their teenage child’s development. A change this big can make a teenager feel like they have no control over their own future like every decision is being made for them. Parents can assure their adolescent children that they have their best interests in mind Parents can also keep their kids informed about their conversations and how the process is unfolding.
Parents should sit down with their children and speak to them about their concerns surrounding the divorce. Ask them about what they would like to happen in the future after the parents no longer live in the same household and suggest possible arrangements until they decide on one that satisfies them. Ensuring an adolescent child knows the outcomes and is comfortable with how it will affect their life is crucial for lessening the impact a divorce will have on them. Parents should keep their own emotions in check, and act as a source of confidence and consistency for their children. Simply listening to your teenage children is an effective way of easing their anxiety about their future.
Respect their opinions
In all of these steps, the most important thing to remember is: listen attentively and respond compassionately. Changes this big can shake a child’s sense of stability, so it is important to reinforce their confidence in their home life. Parents should spend time making their children feel comfortable and optimistic; playing games, going on walks, and watching movies are all activities that can build up a child’s closeness with their family. If a teenager is having trouble coping with the anxiety around their parent’s relationship, showing honest concern for their worries is the first and most important step to helping them feel self-assured again.
Divorce is never easy for children, and adolescent children face a unique set of challenges when coping with their parent’s divorce. Parents can use the advice listed above as strategies for positive communication with their children or consult a divorce lawyer in Westminster for more information. Understanding how to be sensitive to your teenage child’s anxieties and fears is crucial to their being able to move on and live happy, fulfilling lives.