When experience matters, don’t leave your future to chance.

Photo of Professionals at JMG, PLLC
Photo of Professionals at JMG, PLLC

When experience matters, don’t leave your future to chance.

Don’t underestimate the effect of divorce on your teen

On Behalf of | Dec 19, 2022 | Family Law |

It’s not uncommon for divorcing parents with teens to believe that their break-up will have little effect on them. Their teen may be at a stage where they act like their parents are just an annoyance. 

However, if you’re sharing custody, it’s crucial to work out a custody agreement and parenting plan for them – at least until they turn 18. This can help them have consistency in rules and expectations across both homes. You may want to consult with your teen to help make sure you’re not going to throw their whole life into chaos by ignoring their schedule and activities. 

Of course, ultimately, you and your co-parent have the final say. However, if there are days it’s easier to be with one of you than the other because of soccer practice or piano lessons, why not try to accommodate that? This can go a long way toward helping your teen see that their needs aren’t forgotten.

Even if your teen acts like they don’t care about the divorce, it does indeed affect teens both in the present and future. While they may not show overt signs of stress or anxiety like a younger child would, it’s important to watch out for things like:

  • Changes in sleeping or eating habits
  • A drop in grades
  • Fights at school or with friends
  • Increased isolation

In some cases, teens turn to sex, alcohol and/or drugs to numb their feelings or as a way of acting out or getting their parents’ attention.

Talking is important – but oversharing can be harmful

It’s good to encourage (but not pressure) your teen to talk. You can answer questions about the divorce you feel are appropriate. However, it’s crucial to remember that your child is your child – no matter how much you see them as your best friend. 

Don’t share details about why the relationship ended that will affect their feelings toward your co-parent. If you did something that ended the marriage (like cheating), they don’t need to know that either. No matter how mature they think they are, teens aren’t emotionally ready for these conversations. It’s more important that they know that you and your co-parent are still there for them.

Even if your teen is going off to college in a year or two, it’s still important to put time and thought into your custody and parenting agreements. Having sound legal guidance will help.