The end of your marriage will bring changes and adjustments for every member of the family, not just you and the other parent. As you walk through this time of change, you may find yourself focusing on your own difficulties related to the divorce process, such as the negotiation of important terms and your finances. As you do this, it is critical that you not overlook the needs your kids may have during this transition.
Divorce can be especially difficult for teenagers, yet they may insist that they are okay and don’t need additional support. As the parent, you will benefit from making the critical effort of supporting them, helping them as their life changes, and providing what they need for as much stability and security as possible. Even though they are older, they can still have a difficult time with their parents’ divorce.
Offering support during a difficult time
Each teenager will deal with his or her parents’ divorce in different ways. Even if you don’t think your teen son or daughter is struggling with your divorce, chances are that he or she is having a difficult time. Knowing this, you can be intentional about providing emotional support and protecting his or her well-being as much as possible. Some of the specific ways you can do this include:
- Take the time to listen to your teens and validate their concerns when they express their needs.
- Show them how to manage their stress and emotions in a healthy manner by doing the same yourself.
- Set appropriate boundaries, being aware of how you speak about your ex in front of the kids.
- Be flexible, and know that your child may not adjust overnight. Teens may need different types of support on different days.
If your teen shows signs of depression or anxiety, do not hesitate to seek professional mental health treatment for him or her.
Stability and continuity of lifestyle
The goal for Nebraska parents during a divorce is to provide their children with as much stability and continuity as possible. As you consider the terms of your custody and visitation order, you will benefit from considering the potential impact of your decisions on your children. This is a step toward protecting your children’s mental and emotional health during this time.