The only thing more difficult than being a teenager is trying to parent one. Guiding children through those tumultuous adolescent years is a huge challenge under the best of circumstances, but in the midst of divorce, it may seem impossible. Your teens may very well use the chaos of divorce as an excuse to rebel.
Be a Reliable and Responsible Parent
Your teen will likely view your divorce as a decision to abandon your responsibilities as a spouse and as a parent. You can significantly alter this perception by honoring your other commitments. If you make promises, follow through. And if you make a mistake, own up to it immediately and make amends.
Extend Greater Household Responsibility
No matter how peaceful your divorce is or how hard you work to keep the family together, you can expect your teen to exert his or her independence. Some of this distancing is perfectly normal, and it would occur whether or not you pursued divorce. Some, however, can be attributed to what your teen may perceive as you and your ex serving your own interests above the interests of the family.
Independence can be problematic if it leads to criminal behavior or drug use, but it can be channeled constructively. Instead of doubling down with overprotective rules, extend a greater sense of household responsibility. This gives a clear message to teens — they are integral members of your family, and they are needed during this difficult time. Teenage responsibility should not be used to cover up your divorce-related absence, but it can be used to show that you view your teens as capable young adults.
A messy divorce can have a terrible impact on teens, so it’s important to keep the conflict to a minimum. Look to DiPietro Family Law for guidance as you strive for a peaceful divorce. Contact us at (888) 530-4374 now for a private, thorough case evaluation.