Teenagers are notoriously difficult to communicate with. Their changing hormones can make them particularly prone to angry outbursts, but they may also be extremely reluctant to talk about their emotions.
If you are currently going through a divorce and you have teenage children, you may be concerned about how to effectively communicate with them. On the surface, they may seem fine, but you may be worried about whether this tumultuous time is affecting them mentally. You may have spotted minor signs such as some uncharacteristically bad grades at school, or being more withdrawn, and may wonder whether these things have been caused by the ongoing divorce. While it is difficult to say whether this is the case, the following are some tips for promoting healthy communication between you and your child so that you can help them through the divorce.
Remember that mood swings are normal for teenagers
If your child is experiencing mood swings, don’t automatically panic. Mood swings are completely normal for teens, and it doesn’t mean that you have done anything wrong as a parent. Allow your teen to deal with their emotions, but make sure they know that you are always available to talk with them.
Inform adults in your child’s life about the divorce
Other adults that regularly interact with your teen should be notified about the divorce. Perhaps you think it’s a good idea to tell the parents of your child’s friends, for example. That way, they can watch out for unusual patterns of behavior.
Make sure that your teen has someone to talk to
Your teenager will benefit from being able to talk to a neutral third party about the divorce. Make sure that your child has access to this person — whether it’s another member of the family who has a neutral stance and whom they can trust or a professional therapist. Being able to simply talk about the way that they are feeling can help them to process their emotions and move forward.
If you are worried that your child is struggling because of the conflict that has arisen due to the divorce, you should think more seriously about giving your child access to a therapist. By planning your divorce ahead of time, you are less likely to encounter complications.