What to do when your teen isn’t coping well with divorce

On Behalf of | Mar 30, 2020 | Divorce

The adolescent years can be stressful enough for Texas teenagers. But with the added weight of their parents’ divorce, it can all be overwhelming for teens, dealing with both growing up and the separation of their parents.

Warning signs that your teen isn’t adjusting smoothly to the divorce can also potentially signal the onset of depression or other serious psychological issues. That’s why it’s important for parents to know their teens well and to quickly recognize and address relationship problems with their teens before the issues get worse.

Some of these warning signs in a teen’s life can include:

  • Complaints of chronic stomachaches, migraines or other maladies suddenly developed
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Eating disorders, weight loss or gain
  • Outbursts and overreacting to triggers, especially over small matters
  • Diminished academic scores for several weeks
  • Acting up at school, including arguments with others, lying, cheating, stealing or fighting
  • Avoiding social outings or losing once-good friends
  • Extreme changes in your teen’s behavior—ranging from excitement to antagonism to sadness—lasting several days or longer

If your teen is showing risk signs of any serious psychological problems, quickly seek out advice and assistance from a qualified medical professional.

Other ways divorced parents can help their teen

Strengthening the bond between you and your teen is essential to your teen’s good health and development as a person, helping your teen to be resilient and maintain positive self-esteem through the divorce. That goes for your ex-spouse, too, whose relationship with your teen can be equally as vital to their growth and happiness.

When your teen wants to talk, listen closely, empathize and make sure they know how much you value them. When your teen feels comfortable talking openly, you can discuss challenges and stresses together to find answers. That said, always be a good role model by being careful not to share too many of your own frustrations about the divorce and your ex-spouse.

Teens can have a lot going on in their young lives—schoolwork, athletics, their first jobs, romantic crushes and relationships etc.—and they often spend more time away from home, especially after they start driving themselves. That’s why it’s important that your teen needs to be allowed to make some decisions about their own schedule. Parents need to respect that amount of self-determination for teens and be flexible with their own parenting time when possible. However, parents still need to set boundaries and not let their teens run the whole house. You and your ex-spouse should decide on what behavioral expectations you want to keep consistent at your households, such as your teen’s curfew, allowance and other matters.

There are no guarantees when it comes to what your teen will do during their rebellious years, but being there for them as much as possible will help alleviate some of the stress on them caused by your divorce.

Parenting disputes and custody issues can happen over a multitude of matters in a divorce. Having an attorney who specializes in family law there to help you navigate the legal complexities can be a helpful aid and a big stress reliever for you as well.