If you are thinking about ending your marriage, breaking the news to your children may be difficult. After all, divorce has the potential to take a tremendous emotional toll on the young ones in your family. If your son or daughter is a teenager, though, your divorce may cause additional angst.
Fortunately, you can likely take steps to minimize the emotional effect your divorce takes on your teenager. Understanding how your son or daughter is likely to respond to your divorce is the first one.
For teenagers, processing divorce often requires going through the stages of grief. One of these, anger, your teen may direct toward you or your soon-to-be ex-spouse.
That is, you should not expect your son or daughter to remain neutral. In fact, he or she may blame either you or your husband or wife for the divorce. If so, your teen may seek to punish the person he or she deems responsible.
Divorce may make your teen feel he or she has lost control. In response, your son or daughter may isolate. Isolation may include spending more time away from home or staying locked in his or her room. Alternatively, your teen may shun his or her social group in favor of new friends.
Behavioral changes are also common in teenagers whose parents are going through a divorce. Your son or daughter may experiment with drugs or alcohol. He or she may also ditch school or rebel against your authority.
Not all divorce-related behavioral changes may be bad, though. That is, your son or daughter may have improved behavior or better grades after learning about your divorce. Still, if your teenager is acting differently, he or she may not be coping effectively with your divorce.