Skin break-outs. First-time break-ups. And now your parents are getting divorced? There’s nothing easy about being a teenager, and adding a divorce to the mix can make it even more complicated.
Here are a few things you can do to make your divorce a little easier on your teen:
Be the parent
Their curfew was 11 p.m. before the divorce? It’s still 11:00 p.m. after. Their household chores were unloading the dishwasher and taking out the trash before the divorce? The trash and dishes are still waiting for them after. It may be tempting to be more lenient or lax on rules after a divorce, but try your best not to be. Teenagers have plenty of friends. They don’t need another one in their parent.
And make sure your ex and you are on the same page regarding rules. One parent should not be the good cop, while the other plays the bad one.
2 homes, 2 rooms
If at all possible, make sure your teenager has a room at both your house and your ex’s house. Have clothes at each of the houses and their special toiletries as well—shampoo, make-up, etc. If they play basketball, have a ball at each home. Just joined the swim team? Keep a pair of goggles and an extra suit in both households.
Your teenager has two homes now. Neither one should feel like a place they’re just crashing at for the weekend.
Let them know you’re there for them
It may take some time for your teenager to adjust to their new life. Give them the space to do so if they need it. Take an interest in things they’re interested in. Invite them—don’t command them—to go on a walk, grab a special treat or see a favorite movie. Let them know you’re there for them and you’re not going anywhere.
If you or someone you love needs help with divorce legal counsel, we are always here for you.