Teens can have very different needs and a very different life situation than younger children. So, it is no surprise that some unique concerns can arise for parents when it comes to their teens, particularly when life-changing events occur, such as divorce.
For one, the matters that will be the biggest areas of concern when it comes to important child-related divorce issues can be different when it comes to a teenage child. For example, the types of expenses and the types of parental decisions that tend to arise in relation to teens can be quite different from those that arise in relation to younger children. This could have impacts on what divorcing parents view as particularly important issues to address in child custody and child support matters related to their teen. Divorce attorneys can help parents with taking into account the specific details of their teen and their teen's needs when developing strategies for child custody and child support negotiations and proceedings.
When a divorcing parent has a teen, there can also be some special concerns regarding what effects the divorce is having on their child. One reason for this is that teens can be prone to engaging in risky behavior when faced with emotional turmoil they are having difficulty coping with.
Thus, for divorcing parents who have teens, helping their teens cope with the divorce can be of critical importance. Examples of steps parents can in this regard include:
- Giving their teen a stable environment (through things such as providing accountability, structure, routine and supervision).
- Working on fostering a strong relationship with their teen.
- Not getting in the way of their teen having a strong relationship with the other parent.
- Serving as a good role model for their teen when it comes to dealing with the changes (and emotional challenges) divorce brings.
- Being a good and compassionate listener to their teen, but not making their teen talk about things they're not ready to talk about.
- Being careful not to say things around their teen (such as negative comments about the other parent) that could be harmful to the teen emotionally.
- Not making their teen do things (such as spy on the other parent) that could put their teen in a difficult position emotionally during the divorce and its aftermath.
Source: The Huffington Post, "What To Do and Not Do With Your Teen During Divorce," Joshua Wayne, March 23, 2016