No two teenagers are the same, and no two divorces are identical; thus, divorce can have an impact to teenagers in different ways. Parents who are planning on getting divorced must remember that their child or children could be seriously affected by divorce.
There are teens who show maturity beyond their age and who can handle the problems well, but there are some young people who take the opposite position and behave in upsetting manners. Some teens will have their school grades dropped, even alarmingly. Some will become angry teens and pick fights with others especially any siblings. Some will go off the rails big time and team up with other troubled teens getting into strife with the police. How young people react varies but in some cases it can be extremely harmful to the teenagers.
When parents arrive at the subjects of who will have custody and where the child will live, all sorts of issues come into play. Some parents will try bribing their child to live with them. Remember teens are young adults and, unlike young kids, will be in a position to have a say and make their mark. For some teens, having to choose to live with one parent and leave the other can be a traumatic experience. And if one parent leaves town or the state, the hardship can be greatly magnified.
Kids who love their parents don’t want to choose. They don’t want to take sides. The parents may have fallen out with each other but this doesn’t mean the teen blames either parent. In fact all the teen most likely wants is for the family to stay together and live as they did in happier times.
One of the big tragedies of a divorce is that some parents are so emotional and locked into their own problems that they fail to see the impact the divorce is having on the children. The kids can be left to fend for themselves.
A further distressing problem is that some teens start to feel guilty about their parents breaking up. Teens are old enough to think logically and some will lie awake at night thinking about if or how they caused the marriage of their parents to fail. This is rarely if ever the case but the guilt trip by the teen can be very real.
As hard as it may be, every parent should keep the lines of communication open with their spouse if for no other reason as the welfare of their child. If there is a danger of the divorce causing serious problems for the teen, the parents should agree on a course of action. Taking their child to a counselor who works specifically with troubled teens would be a good place to start.
Parents must understand that during the divorce and after it has become law, life goes on and this includes the wellbeing and protection of the children. The divorce may come and go but the health of your teen remains a vitally important issue.