The Effects of Divorce on Adolescents
Updated: Oct 7, 2019
Children and adolescents respond differently to divorce. Children may experience grief and anxiety, which can cause clinginess, loss of confidence, and sadness. Adolescents can also feel this, but you may find that your teen is becoming angrier and less communicative. Your teen’s natural desire for independence can further complicate things. According to Psychology Today, because teens are already more concerned with friendships, divorce tends to increase this as a priority and create more independence from the family.
Teens can make visits with the non-custodial parent difficult to arrange. Their increasing social desires can complicate scheduling visits when that time with the other parent competes with that of friends. It can help if you can be flexible regarding visits with your teenager—for example, allowing them to bring a friend. This takes some of the pressure off of being forced to hang out with their parent rather than their friends. That being said, But you are still the parent, and sometimes you will have to make decisions that they do not agree with.
One of the biggest predictors of how adolescents will cope with their parents’ divorce is how well their parents get along. One way in which you can restore trust with your teen is by working together for their benefit. If you and your ex-spouse can develop a new relationship as co-parents, your commitment to each other and your children will be seen by your teenager. Open communication and validation of your teenager’s feelings can also help. Adolescents are just as vulnerable to the effects of divorce as younger children, so the ability to co-parent and display genuine concern for how they are feeling can make a difference.