Parents often grow apart as they spend 18 or more years raising their children. They often don’t know each other very well by the time they become empty-nesters. They end up divorcing instead of trying to reignite that spark that once brought them together.
While some couples hold off on divorcing until their child has left the nest, others, such as those parents who have a wide age gap between children, decide to divorce when their kids are teens. This can be hard on an adolescent, especially since they’re often struggling to find their place in the world at this stage in life. You’ll, therefore, want to carefully address your divorce with your teen.
How should you address your divorce with your teen?
You should be upfront with your child in letting them know about your plans to divorce soon after your and your spouse commit to going forward. You should validate their concerns that the timing of the conveyance of this information may seem inopportune, but that your goal is to minimize the impact the divorce has on them.
You and your co-parent need to anticipate the fact that teenagers are bound to have questions. Prepare yourself to answer questions from you teen like:
- Why did the marriage fall apart?
- Will they have to live between two homes? How often will the transitions be?
- Are they going to have to switch schools?
- Are they going to have to quit any special hobbies or extracurriculars?
If you come prepared for such conversations, then your teen is unlikely to feel so confused about the unknown, and thus, more apt to feel that you are doing your best to be upfront and honest with them. Even if you and your spouse still have some negotiating to do, this approach will minimize disruptions that divorce often causes for teens.