Divorce is hard for everyone, but one group of people who may be overlooked includes older teenagers. Older teens are getting close to adulthood and may even be preparing to move out of the home. Their parents may not believe that they need much support or that they need to be privy to everything going on with the divorce, especially if they aren’t home much.
The reality is that teens can struggle with divorce, too, even if they’re 16, 17 or older. Even if your child is no longer living at home and won’t need a custody schedule, they may need help adapting.
Here’s an example. If your child has always come home to the family home on the weekend while being away at college during the week, they may find it more frustrating to try to figure out where to go each week. Maybe your new house is out of the way, or perhaps the other parent has a new partner that they’re not comfortable with. Just like with a child of any age, it’s your responsibility to talk to your teen and to help them understand why you divorced and what that means for your relationship with them in the future.
Teens often think divorce is their fault
Teens do tend to think that the divorce is their fault. Money issues related to going to college, problems at school and other stressors may be a catalyst for a divorce, but your teen should never have to feel like they were responsible for the end of your marriage.
Even if your teen hasn’t suggested that this may be the case, it’s important for you to sit down with them to talk about the divorce. Explain that you love them and will continue to be there for them. If you and the other parent are on good terms, then let your child know, so that they don’t have to feel awkward about talking to you or their other parent separately about the other.
Teens are at a stage in life where they are becoming more independent, but they can be frustrated and upset by divorce, too. Take some time to speak with your child, so they can feel more confident moving forward.