When parents get divorced, it can blindside teens completely. Parents seemed to get along, there was not any fighting, and everything appeared to be status quo in the home. There are also those teens who saw a divorce coming from a mile away and were surprised it took as long as it did to happen. Both ways require teens to cope with the changes that are going to come from their lives as a result of divorce, leading them to look for tips for dealing with parents' divorce, from as many sources as possible.
As much as they do not think they will be affected by it, teens may be surprised by the emotions they experience when parents announce they are getting a divorce. It is not uncommon for them to be on a rollercoaster as two homes become the new normal. As holidays are split between parents. When decisions have to be made about who teens spend their birthdays with. It is difficult, it can be messy, and at the end of the day, it has nothing to do with teens.
And as long as they can remember it is between their parents and that teens should not be involved, getting through to the other side of divorce when things are finalized can be possible.
Here are tips for teens dealing with parents' divorce.
Remember, It Is Not Your Fault
The first thing that teens need to remember is that their parents' divorce is not their fault. It is a mantra that should be repeated daily until teens finally believe that it was problems between their parents that caused the divorce, not what was said or done by teens.
According to Exquisite Minds, it goes a long way if parents are able to civilly sit down and explain to teens why they are getting a divorce. That way, there is confirmation that the relationship between the parents had problems but that the love they feel for their teens is not something that will change
You Are Not The Go-Between
When teens are asked to deliver messages from one parent to the other, they become nothing more than a pawn in the divorce. Teens need to put their foot down and tell their parents to either speak to one another or through their attorneys so that they do not need to pick sides or are feeling trapped in the middle.
According to Michael R. Young Divorce Law Firm, when forced to work as a go-between from Parent A to Parent B, it can cause "long-term psychological damage." Because of this, parents should know better than to use their teens to deliver messages or make them feel guilty for not doing so. This will only hurt teens, not the ex-spouse and nothing is gained from the situation.
Whatever Is Being Felt Is Understandable
As parents work their way through a divorce, there are going to be emotions cropping up unexpectedly. And regardless of what those feelings are, they are valid.
According to FamilyMeans, the emotions that are common for kids to go through when parents divorce include:
Some teens may even feel relief that divorce is happening, which could then bring about feelings of guilt.
Whatever is being felt is normal. And letting those feelings out is necessary to begin to process the divorce happening to the parents in teens' lives.
Being Physically Active Will Help
With all the emotions being felt, there needs to be an outlet. And a great way to feel better and be healthy at the same time is to be physically active.
Ways for teens to physically deal with their emotions include:
Whatever it takes to break a sweat is what will help teens to emotionally deal with what they are feeling when parents divorce.
Keep Open Lines Of Communication With Both Parents
Keeping lines of communication open with both parents is important so that teens do not feel like they are in the middle of the divorce. This allows them to speak freely about what they are feeling to both parents so that everyone knows emotionally where they stand as a marriage comes to an end.
According to Michigan State University, when parents and kids have open communication when divorce is happening, the emotional and social well-being of kids and teens are protected.
When this happens, teens are able to thrive in the midst of divorce versus feeling like they may emotionally crumble. Something that is important for parents to keep in mind regardless of how young or old their kids are.
Speak With Friends Who Have Had Parents Divorce
For those teens who want to know how others dealt with their parents going through a divorce, there should be no shame in talking to friends who have experienced the same. Those friends are likely to be a wealth of information and have ways to cope with the divorce that teens in the thick of it likely have not thought of.
As such, talk with those who have made it through to the other side. They will minimally be able to provide their coping mechanisms and better still may help to make teens feel better about what they are going through.
Seek Help If Necessary
At the end of the day, if teens are having a hard time coping with the divorce and feel like they are drowning in their emotions, professional help may be necessary. That way, there is an unbiased ear to speak with that can provide guidance and assure teens that they are entitled to feel what they feel and are not to blame for the divorce their parents are going through.