Divorce is a complex process that affects everyone involved. As some parents in Maryland discover, divorce can affect teens in ways that might not always be easy to identify. Parents who choose to end their marriage should be prepared to support their teens during the process.
How teens might react to divorce
While some teens handle the dissolution of their parents’ marriage in a relatively stable manner, others react in negative ways that can have both short- and long-term effects. These include:
- Misbehaving and acting out
- Struggling academically
- Quitting hobbies and extracurricular activities
- Avoiding friends
- Abusing drugs or alcohol
These reactions might be additionally connected to depression and other mental health issues that might develop during their parents’ divorce. A mental health professional can help with this aspect.
Supporting your teen
Though it might seem like you need your teen’s support during this difficult time, you should first focus on how you can support your teen. One way to show support for your teen during divorce is by speaking honestly with them about the end of the marriage, the changes that it will bring and the things the parents themselves are not sure about. Encouraging the teen to share their own concerns, fears and feelings is also important. Other ways parents can support teens during divorce include:
- Showing consistent interest in their hobbies and extracurricular activities
- Speaking positively about the other parent
- Including the teen when making decisions about their life
- Getting them professional help in the form of a therapist if needed
While it might be easier to overlook how a teen is feeling during divorce, the consequences can be devastating and long-lasting. Remember to keep the communication channels open between you, your teen and the other parent to ensure that you offer support every step of the process.