It’s challenging when divorced parents are still raising their children. Although there may be differences, children and teens still require healthy parenting. For this reason, parents should keep in mind although their marriage has dissolved, their role as parents have not. Despite the fact that parents disagree about a variety of topics, they should find a way to agree upon the way that they are teaming up for the sake of their children.
Teens need stability to anchor them during times of stress. And divorce can be a stressful experience for teens. Considering the psychological well being of your teen, the following are suggestions for co-parenting throughout the divorce and beyond:
- Maintain the same schedule/routine for your teen. This will support their emotional stability. Keep the same schedules for bedtime, meals, and school. When life feels consistent, children and teens feel safe
- Remain consistent in the way you relate to your teen. This goes for both parents, regardless of what happens during the divorce. Stay consistent when it comes to discipline, reward, affection, and emotional relating to your teen.
- Consider the needs of your teen first. It’s important for parents to think of the long-term with regard to the development of their teen. As children mature, they will have needs that will change as they enter adolescence. For instance, young boys might enjoy nurturing time with their mother. Yet, as they develop into adolescence, it might be worthwhile for them to spend more time with their fathers.
- Continue to tell your teen that you love them. Regardless of what’s going on with the other parent, make sure you tell your teen how much you value, appreciate, and love them. It’s essential that teens know that they are not the cause of the divorce. What they really need to know is that they are loved and accepted by both parents regardless of what’s happening between them.
- Don’t underestimate your teen’s emotional needs. It’s easy to assume that teens are grown up and that they don’t need emotional connection. On the contrary, teens yearn for connection. Typically, they may be pulling away from their parents to find a sense of independence – and connection with their friends. However, in the case of divorce and when the family feels unsettled, teens may yearn for time with both parents.
During a divorce, it may be difficult for parents to figure out how to meet the physical, emotional, and psychological needs of their teen even while conflicts arise between them. However, if both parents are willing to put the needs of their teen first, they can recognize that co-parenting is going to require conversations, communication, and contact with the other parent. Knowing how to do that in a way that keeps the teen’s psychological well being in mind is at the heart of healthy co-parenting.
If you’re going through a divorce and you’re noticing it affect your teen emotionally and psychologically, seek the support of a mental health provider. Mental health support for your teen during such a challenging time can ensure their psychological health.