Divorce is difficult enough on the couple who is undergoing the major changes. However, it can be even more difficult on teens who feel that they are being forgotten in the process. The goal of your family should be to help everyone through the divorce process, including your stubborn teenagers.
Are you listening?
A Columbus family law attorney once asked me when I was undergoing my divorce and struggling with me 15 year old daughter if I was listening to her? I was so frustrated and wanted to scream back and say of course! As I thought about her question though I really reflected as to whether or not I was really listening to what she had to say. I realized I was only listening to what I wanted to hear. I was listening to the parts that I thought I could fix. I realized that day how important it is to really listen to what teens have to say. The good the bad the hard, you have to listen to it all and really consider. While in my opinion she was acting out, she really just wanted to be heard.
How is your Patience?
I started reflecting on a lot of other aspects by asking myself questions. I asked myself if I was being patient. Now, patience does not in any way mean just letting her do whatever she wanted. However, it did mean learning to let her make mistakes and be frustrated without becoming angry at her. I still had to discipline her, but I reminded myself to be patient, but firm with her. It made a big difference when I changed my mindset.
What Can I be Involved in?
I narrowed down some of my teens problems to longing so much to be apart of something with her family. She felt as though she was being forgotten and her sense of togetherness was disappearing. As I started focusing and putting effort towards being involved in her life and doing things together it got better. What she really wanted was me to be involved in her life. It can be hard for a teen to suddenly not have the full support that she felt she had before. Me simply focusing more on being involved in her life made a really big difference.
Over the process, I learned that teens struggle just as much as a spouse does when there is a divorce. You can not count on your teens to just move on like nothing has happened when their parents divorce. You have to be there for them and you have to do some self evaluation along the way to insure that you are still being the best parent that you can be.