Talking to your teen about what you’re going through with divorce probably isn’t something you’re eager to do. No parent wants to break bad news to their children. Despite that, you know you have the responsibility to do so and want to do so in the best possible manner.
What can you do to make sure your teen understands what’s happening? How can you make your teen aware that both you and his or her other parent are still going to do your best to be there for him or her?
There are a few things you can do. Here are a few tips for talking to your teen about your impending divorce.
1. Don’t be afraid to hear what your teen has to say
You may want to bring up the divorce gently, asking what your teen would think of the situation. He or she likely has a strong opinion about divorce, and once you know it, you can decide how to move forward.
If your kid is in favor, you should take time to discuss that the divorce is happening and what that means. If he or she is wary of a divorce, don’t get defensive. Instead, be reassuring and help your teen understand why you and your spouse want to divorce. It might be something as simple as not getting along, but you need to make sure your child understands that you did all you could to live together and now wish to separate.
2. Be prepared for changes in your child’s behavior
After the initial discussion, you may notice changes in your child. He or she may feel anxious, depressed, happy or lethargic about the changes coming his or her way. Be prepared to talk to your child, or give your child space, when needed. If your child doesn’t seem to be adjusting well, consider speaking with a therapist.
3. Include your child in your plans
Teens like to have some control over their lives, and a good way to provide a sense of control is by including your teen in your plans. If you’re moving, get your teen’s input. If you’re considering selling the house, hear your child out before you list it. At the end of the day, everything comes down to your decision, but you should give your child a chance to speak.
These are just a few tips that could help you when you and your teen are dealing with divorce. It’s not easy to divorce with a child, but with good support, it’s possible to get through this difficult time together.