The teen years aren’t easy. In fact, it’s challenging for any teen to deal with the physical and mental changes associated with adolescence. When you factor in a trauma like separation or divorce, the teenage years can become even harder to deal with.
Can your teen survive this type of change and emerge from it without any long lasting emotional damage? Yes, she can. However, it’s going to take some help from you. Here are just a few ways to help your teen understand and survive divorce.
Understand That Your Daughter Isn’t an Adult
Sometimes parents feel that when their teen is independent, mature for their age and responsible, they will automatically be able to handle a divorce in a calm and healthy manner. This isn’t true. While they may be able to understand the reasons behind your separation, that doesn’t mean they won’t take the news hard and have to adjust to the circumstances, just like any other child.
Divorce is a traumatic event in your daughter’s life. Don’t be quick to pressure her into taking on extra responsibilities now that your spouse is out of the home. She’s still a child, and she is dealing with stress and change.
Parents are the foundation of a family, so when that foundation changes, all sorts of emotions can occur. Anger, resentment and rebellious thoughts and actions are not uncommon at this time. Your daughter may also blame herself and show sings of depression. Be prepared for this. Seeking professional help early will help your daughter process her feelings in a healthy manner. It’s best to show initiative in offering counseling and therapy, before inner turmoil turns into outward manifestations. A school counselor, private therapist or even a therapeutic boarding school can help your daughter heal and adapt.
Make Slow Changes
There are some changes that occur in divorce that aren’t avoidable. One spouse will likely move out of the house. Visitations must occur. However, there are other changes you can take your time with:
- Changing schools- wait until the end of the year
- Decorating a new room- let her become comfortable in a new home and do things at her own pace
- Changes in chores- don’t pile everything on her at once
While change has to occur, take your time with each one. Talk to your teen and let her know what is going to happen so she can be prepared and doesn’t feel betrayed or blindsided.
Rules are Rules
For the best results, each parent should maintain the same rules in each home. While you may feel upset about the divorce, don’t bend to your teenager’s will because of it. She will respond better to structure.
Once you’ve said what you need to say, take the time to listen to your daughter and get an idea of how she feels about the situation. Don’t react negatively to her feelings, thoughts or emotions. She has a right to feel the way she does. You can also help reassure your daughter that she is safe in your home. This is especially important if there has been a history of past domestic violence.
Boarding School for Girls: Helping Through Divorce
Sometimes children of divorce need a little extra help to recover from the divorce of their parents. A therapeutic boarding school like Greenbrier Academy can help your teen understand and learn to cope with her emotions so she emerges from this event whole and healthy.