Many families unfortunately have to deal with divorce and the most important thing to consider during this tumultuous time is making sure every family member has a coping strategy including your adolescent. Divorce is a big change for a teenager. The foundation that they thought they were standing on has become shattered and the security they once felt from their parents becomes null and void. Statistics show that teenagers whose parents become divorced are four times at risk to abuse drugs and alcohol than those teens whose parents have remained together. While this may make you rethink your game plan and stay together “for the kids”, you have to do what is best for everyone and sometimes that means getting a divorce. Your teen will most likely have an adverse reaction to the pain they are feeling, but you can help them through this time by being present for them and steering them in a better direction other than substance abuse.
Let them talk
Most teens in this situation like to isolate and not talk about their feelings. Try to engage them as much as possible with genuine interest in listening to your teenager without being distracted by cell phones or anything else that can take away your focus. Whether they want to admit or not, they need you to walk them through this difficult time by making them feel like the divorce is not their fault.
Use acceptance instead of criticism
One of the worst things you can do is talk badly about your spouse, their parent, in front of your teenager. Your other half may have pulled some despicable acts to cause the dissolution of your marriage, however, you should do what you can to try and keep your teen from having to pick sides. They are already going through enough so by sparing their feelings and keeping your opinions to yourself will give them a wonderful example of how to take the higher road.
Utilize your resources
Getting family therapy or individual therapy from the get go will help them to sort out their feelings so they do not have to use drugs or alcohol, cut themselves, or explore other risky behaviors to endure the inevitable changes that will take place from a divorce. Divorce is never an easy situation for a family to have to go through. Figuring out what to do when divorce becomes a reality is difficult although using the tools that you are learning to help you cope will assist you and your family to navigate through this trying time much easier.
Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center provides a clinically structured protocol with withdrawal management that is designed to specifically accommodate the needs of teenagers. We first help to remove the toxic chemicals out of the body and then move onto the treatment of the whole person.
Call us today to start living in recovery: 662-598-4214