Teenagers are in the process of organizing their values, ideals and beliefs so they can incorporate them into a cohesive self-identity. However, the circumstances surrounding a divorce can trigger a teen to feel insecure about his or her identity. It can also make a teen feel insecure about future relationships and his or her future life path and finances. As such, to ensure the psychological wellbeing of their teens, divorcing parents will want to keep several things in mind about their children.
A sense of self-sufficiency is very important for teenagers to weather the storm of a divorce. Without a strong sense of self-sufficiency, the stresses of divorce could cause a teen to become rebellious, resentful or carry out self-defeating patterns. For example, perhaps the teen makes friends with people who are harmful to him or her, chooses bad daily habits, changes his or her appearance, alters his or her routine or becomes isolated and withdrawn.
When these kinds of behavior changes are witnessed, it’s time for parental action and intervention. Intervention might take the form of simply talking to your teenager compassionately to find out what the underlying reasons for the destructive behavior patterns happen to be. Perhaps you teen is feeling insecure, unconfident and is worried about his or her ability to navigate life in the future. When the solid base of family life is removed, it can create subconscious fears that need to be addressed.
By teaching a teenager different skills to be self-sufficient, like how to cook, drive, repair a car, plan a trip, open a bank account and other “adult” tasks, it can help alleviate the fear that comes from a family base that feels like it has been taken out from under the teenager’s feet. Additionally, one of the best ways of doing that is to seek out a mental health professional who can assist the teenager to explore his or her feelings about a divorce in privacy and confidence.
Parents can also support the mental health of their teens by instructing their divorce lawyer to resolve the divorce as peacefully as possible. Keeping the break-up peaceful and stress-free will help teenagers feel more secure in their lives and futures, and benefit the teens’ relationship with parents no matter which parent or parents will have custody of the teen. Fortunately, these days, there are many conflict resolution and divorce mediation strategies and resources that the Law Office of Kelley A. Joseph, PA, can use to facilitate the peaceful dissolution of a marriage.