Even under the best of circumstances, divorce is a painful process for parents and children both. Although almost adults, teenagers are not immune from the impact of divorce. While every family is different and every teenager is different, studies show that in many cases, teens that come from divorced families:
- – Have higher rates of anxiety
- – Are at an increased risk for dropping out of high school
- – Are more sexually active at younger age
- – Are more at risk for drug and alcohol use
- – Are more aggressive
Not every teen from every divorced family is going to have these issues. Research simply suggests that teens from families that are separated by divorce are more at risk for these psychological and behavioral problems.
Why does divorce have such a significant effect on teenagers?
While your daughter may not be as close to you during adolescence as she once was, that doesn’t mean she doesn’t need you or need the safety that the relationship between her two parents provides. Teens often perceive a separation between their parents as their parents separating from them. This can lead to insecurities, low self-esteem and mental health issues like depression and anxiety in your daughter. It can even have lasting effects. One study states that teens of divorced parents often have negative attitudes towards future relationships and marriage.
Many teens also feel like their childhood is shortened by divorce. This is especially the case if they have to take on more adult responsibilities after the separation, such as caring for their younger siblings or one or both parents use the teen as a confidant.
Lower Quality of Life
Divorce has a significant impact on the entire family. As one family becomes two, the cost of living grows- and the quality of life can diminish. This is especially true when it comes to finances. Two parents who used to pool their incomes to support one household now have to support a household each by themselves. This often means the parents have to work more hours, which leads to increased stress levels and less time with their children. As they see their parents less and receive less attention, teens can begin to feel angry and resentful. Increased aggression, trouble in school and depression can occur.
Helping Your Daughter Cope With Divorce
If you and your spouse are getting divorced, it’s important to help your teen understand it and cope with your decision as much as possible. Avoid speaking negatively about the other parent in front of your daughter. Maintain a routine and structure that lets your daughter spend as much time with both parents as possible. Keep up with normal routines as well. There should be regular meal times, time for homework and time for after-school activities.
Help for teens impacted by divorce is available and should be used. Talk therapy can help your daughter work through her anger and better understand how the change could better the family. Reaching out to extended family members may help her continue to feel connected to the family as well.
Are you going through a divorce? Divorce can impact your teenage daughter, resulting in behavioral, academic and mental health issues. Take steps to help her through this significant change.