Raising teenagers is a challenge on its own. Chances are your teen is already dealing with school issues, dating, hormones, and emotions that seem to change every minute. If you and your partner have decided to separate, it’s crucial that you talk with your teen as soon as possible about the divorce. This way, your child has time to process what’s happening. While it might make more sense to wait until the divorce is final, the truth is that your child likely already knows something is wrong or different at home. Sitting down and talking with your child will help provide stability, comfort, and understanding. Here are some suggestions on how to explain divorce to a teenager.
Sit down as a family
One of the most important things you can do for your child is to sit down as a family to tell your teen about the divorce. While you might not be on speaking terms with your spouse, it’s essential that you present a united front for your child. Sitting down together ensures you both know what you’re telling your child about the cause of the divorce. That also enables you to address any concerns or questions your child has at this time. Many children, even teenagers, feel unloved and afraid when they discover their parents are separating. Talk with your partner ahead of time and decide how you’re going to tell your child about the divorce. Then the three of you should sit down and have a long, honest, and open discussion about how your lives are going to change.
Remind your child you love them
Your child isn’t the cause of your divorce, but they might feel guilty when you tell them that you and your partner are separating. Many teens blame themselves for their parents’ divorce. Make sure your child knows that they both you and your partner love them entirely and that they did not cause the breakup. You must tell your teen verbally and not just assume they know how you feel.
Answer your child’s questions
Your teen will probably have a lot of questions about what the divorce will be like. They might want to know why you’re getting a divorce, whether or not you’ll be moving, where they’ll live, and whether or not they’ll get to see the other parent. While dealing with these questions can be tough, try to answer as many as you possibly can. Talking with your child about the divorce encourages open communication and will help build your relationship. If you don’t speak with your child about what’s going to happen, they’ll feel excluded from a significant family experience.
While facing divorce is never easy, it’s essential to talk to your teen about it. Make sure you and your partner continue to communicate both with your teenager and with each other throughout the entire divorce process. That will reinforce your love for your child and will help them to cope with the impending changes in your family.
I hope this article answered your questions on how to explain divorce to a teenager. If you have any questions about a divorce in NJ, call the Law Offices of Peter Van Aulen at (201) 887-0461 for a consultation.