Divorce is a difficult process for every member of your family, especially your children. Teenagers are especially vulnerable during the end of a marriage. Talking about your divorce to your teens can be a difficult task. Teens are mature enough to understand the basic situation, but they still lack full emotional development.
How you explain the divorce to your adolescent children may impact their lives in many ways, including their future relationships. Knowing how to approach this topic will help you say the right things at the right time. Here are some suggestions.
Share early and together
It is ideal to inform your teens about divorce sooner rather than later. You do not want to blindside them with this heartbreaking news. Pick a time without many plans, such as right before the weekend begins. Break the news along with your soon-to-be-ex-spouse, if possible. Sharing the news together will show your teens that you are on the same page and that they have the love and support of both parents.
Spare them the adult details
While it may be tempting to disclose adult-type information to your teens, it is generally not a good idea. This means you should avoid placing a lot of blame on one spouse, especially if infidelity is a factor. Going into the nitty gritty details can cause a lot of confusion, anxiety, resentment and guilt in teenagers. Simply explain that adults can have difficulties and can grow apart.
Be ready for a backlash
Expect your teens to react with strong emotions once they learn about your divorce. While a younger child may cry and express sadness, teens are more likely to be angry and distant. Do not feed into the anger or force them to talk about anything if they want to be alone.
Telling your teenage children about your divorce may be one of the hardest things to do, but it is necessary to have a healthy conversation about the end of your marriage.