Divorced Parents and Teens
Divorce is often a very sensitive issue to deal with in a family setting. It can break up families in more ways than one and leave everyone involved damaged. There is really no such thing as being good at divorcing; therefore the best thing that co-parents can do is seek out help from family law professionals specializing in divorce and child custody. Putting divorced parents and teens together is a difficult mix. Many divorced parents make simple mistakes when dealing with their teens and often cause more harm than good.
How does divorce often affect teenagers?
Divorced parents and teens do not always work out nicely with one another. When parents divorce in a household with teenagers the effects can seem to be magnified. Home life can become unfamiliar, painful, difficult to manage, and virtually non-existent. After the damage is done it can be extremely difficult to repair. After a divorce, your teen may have lost their sense of family, adding to the instability of their already fragile lives.
Let’s face it; being a teenager is not easy. One of the most stable things in a teenager’s life is their family and life at home. I’m sure most parents remember, or maybe try to forget, that as a teenager you feel the constant pressures of social life, personal life, and academic life. Teenagers need a good home life to create a solid foundation for themselves. Divorced parents and teens are both forced to cope with their unsettled feelings and emotions. An inability to cope with these issues can cause some severe reactions in teenagers, which may lead to continued emotional problems for the rest of their lives.
Common mistakes of divorced parents and teens
In order to help divorced parents and teens cope with their situation and emotions there are a number of mistakes that should be avoided. These mistakes may seem very miniscule but their effects on both divorced parents and teenagers can be devastating. The first common mistake that families make is failing to work together as a team. This may seem silly since the family is not all living in the same house anymore, but there is a difference between living together and parenting together. Co-parents should not let their feelings toward their ex get in the way of effectively parenting their children. In fact, after a divorce co-parents should increase their efforts to parent their children and put all of the focus on them. Parenting teenagers for parents who are not divorced is no easy task, meaning that for divorced parents it is much more difficult. It is important that you cooperate with your co-parent when parenting your teen. You must both be on the same page with setting rules and boundaries.
Another common mistake that occurs with divorced parents and teens is that the parents often encourage their children to take sides or become a messenger for them. This can also relate to acting as a team within the family. Co-parents often create these two individual teams, and force their children to choose which they will be on. The problem with this is that instead of communicating with each other for the sake of their children, co-parents are placing their children in the middle of the situation. If the children are placed in the middle they are essentially absorbing all of the conflict between the co-parents.
One of the most important mistakes that co-parents seem to make all too often is failing to get professional help. Divorced parents and teens can greatly benefit from the help that a family law professional can bring. Many therapists specialize in working with divorced parents and teens and can help co-parents to avoid these common mistakes. The OurFamilyWizard website® also has a number of tools that have been specifically designed for co-parents for these reasons. Organizing and managing your custody agreement as well as effectively communicating with your co-parent are a priority when trying to repair the damage that has been caused by a divorce in the family. For more information on how the OurFamilyWizard website® can help divorced parents and teens please visit our Divorce Parenting page.