Parents in North Carolina who are going through a divorce and whose children are teenagers may be worried about how the process will affect them. Divorce can be a difficult time for teens, but parents can take steps to help them through the process.
As many as a quarter of teens whose parents divorce experience problems as a result. These can range from trouble sleeping and anger to problems with depression and substance abuse. Teens may struggle to get along with their parents or siblings, or they may do poorly in school. However, according to research, teens fare the best after divorce if their parents get along. Ideally, parents can work out an effective co-parenting plan.
How to help
It is not always possible for a divorce to be amicable, but parents can help their teens in other ways. They should encourage their teens to talk about their fears and concerns. It is normal for teens to feel some anger and emotion even during an amicable divorce, and in some cases, a few sessions with a counselor can help. Parents should be prepared for some behavior issues, but they should remain firm about enforcing rules. They should also remain interested and engaged in the lives of their teens.
Making a decision about child custody can be one of the most difficult parts of a divorce. Parents may struggle to deal with the fact that they will have less time with their children as well as the fact that their kids’ lives will inevitably be disrupted. However, they may want to try to come to an agreement instead of going to family court, where a judge will decide what is in the child’s best interests. Whether the custody plan is decided through negotiation or litigation, teens may want some input into the arrangements.