Many unhappily married couples wait until their children are in their teens to divorce. They figure divorce will affect them less when they are starting to build lives of their own anyway. But divorce can bring some unique pressures and losses for teens. Knowing this can help you to be a better single parent.
Teens may be troubled with guilt over parental divorce, wondering if their sometimes stormy moments of adolescence contributed to the breakup. Teens have a difficult time dealing with parental dating and sexuality. A divorce can mean a family move, which can mean a change of schools and loss of friends. It can mean that parents are too busy dealing with their own feelings to listen as often to their teen’s problems, and visitation can interfere with time for friends.
As a parent, reassure your teen. Minimize changes. Be discreet in your own behavior to serve as a responsible and loving role model. Be sensitive to unique teen needs when setting visitation times. Most important, stay involved in his life. Teenagers still need parents.
An expert in the field of adolescent behavior, Ms. McCoy has authored eleven books on the subject including the best selling “The Teenage Body Book”. Additionally she has written hundreds of articles for major national magazines. Coordinator of the Clinical Ph.D. Program at California School of Professional Psychology and Staff Counselor at the Center for Individual and Family Counseling in North Hollywood, California.