Teens and Divorce
with Amanda Craig
Teens are in that 13-17 age range, a tricky time where they are building and forming their own relationships. Understanding their mindset can help you navigate a divorce more successfully.
Many couples will wait to divorce until the kids are out of the house. The down side of that is that your kids have seen and know more than you realize. You have most likely been modeling a strained and dysfunctional relationship for them at a time when they are forming their own relationships. On the other side, you are breaking apart the stability of a family unit that they’ve been a part of their entire lives.
It’s natural for them to be detaching. Teens may act out by spending an excessive amount of time at home, worrying about you and nurturing you. Or they could be spending more and more time away from the home and with new friends.
Tracking has become a valuable tool in keeping family members safe, but the problem becomes what you do with that information: If you confront them about every move they’ve made, they may feel violated and angry. You want to create boundaries because it shows you love them and care, but you also want to have an open door for ongoing dialogue. Kids of all ages want to be seen, understood, and soothed. The more you engage and take an interest in them, the more they will feel safe and open up. One way to start is by saying, “How are you?” “Do you want to grab some dinner?” Set up a non-critical environment in which they can engage and they know they’ll be heard.