The ideal outcome in a North Carolina divorce is that the children remain close with both of their parents. However, the older a child is, the greater the likelihood that they will assign blame to one of the parents. When this happens, the parent whom the child is siding against needs to be patient.
As difficult as it sounds, the parent needs to take a deep breath and realize that it is natural for teens to go through an emotional upheaval. The parent should encourage the child to come talk to them and let them know the roots of their anger. If they do, the parent should not be defensive and should take responsibility for the teen’s anger. The parent must put their pride aside and try to maintain contact with the teen and acknowledge why the child is upset with them. The parent should never stop trying to connect.
At the same time, the parent should not venture away from “safe topics” when they talk to the teen. Dangerous areas of conversation include trying to pin the blame for the divorce on the other spouse. The parent should remember that as the teenager approaches adulthood, they have formed their own definite opinions that need to be respected. Parents should not give up hope because the teen may still change their mind as they further mature.
Parents do need to look out for parental alienation as a cause for their teenager’s feelings. If this is happening, a parent may want to consult with a family law attorney about how to take legal action to put an end to it. An attorney may also help engineer a more amicable divorce that could minimize the hurt feelings and anger that children feel when their parents are involved in litigious proceedings.