As a teen counselor, it is not uncommon that in teen counseling, topics covered include navigating having parents who divorced. I find that the teenagers who do the best are those with parents who have learned to co-parent well. Those parents who have remained friends and co-parent tend to have the best outcomes for their teenagers.
Yet, it is not always the case where parents can or do remain friends or friendly towards one another after a divorce. No one ever wants to go through a divorce. Divorce will cause hurt for all involved. But sometimes it is necessary. If you are a parent going through a divorce, your number one priority is protecting your teenagers.
This can be difficult if the other parent has an addiction, is neglectful, or is abusive. This blog post will provide tips for keeping your teens safe during and after the divorce process.
How to Support & Protect Your Teenagers Through a Divorce
There are very simple and intuitive ways to support your teenagers through a divorce. Yet, we know that simple does not always mean easy.
Things are rarely clear cut and easy during a divorce. There are a lot of moving parts and elements that are simply outside your control.
Yet, these tips can be important for you, your relationship with your teens, and your teen's mental health. I will provide suggestions on steps to take if, after your best efforts, the challenges still remain.
Open Lines of Communication
If you are going through a divorce, it is important to keep the lines of communication open with your teenagers. This is particularly true if you have a spouse who has an addiction, is abusive, or neglectful. Let your teenagers know that they can come to you with any questions or concerns.
If their other parent begins to influence or manipulate your teenagers in not communicating with you, this is of course unacceptable. If it is not possible to work through this with your ex, you may need to hire an attorney.
Maintaining open lines of communication with your teenagers is critical. It is critical to their mental health and it's also challenging for you to maintain a relationship without communication.
Spend Quality Time With Your Teenagers
You should also make sure to spend quality time with your teenagers, regularly. If you are not the primary, custodial guardian, you may not have as much quantity of time with your teens. And even if you are the primary, custodial guardian, ensuring that the time you spend with your teenagers focuses on connecting and building relationships.
This not only helps you to continue to strengthen your relationship with your teenagers, but gives them an opportunity to be in a safe place of their own if the other parent is struggling with mental health concerns.
Making Your Teenager's Mental Health a Priority
Children who grow up in a home with a parent who struggles with addiction are at a greater risk of abuse and neglect. Drugs and alcohol can drastically impact a parent's mood and behavior, causing them to be unpredictable.
This can include physically and emotionally aggressive behavior and neglect if the parent's drug of choice requires them to leave home often or sleep excessively. In addition, studies have shown that children who experience abuse or neglect are more likely to struggle with mental health issues, substance abuse problems, and trauma throughout their lives.
If you have concerns about the other parent and their behavior around your teenagers, you should consider getting an attorney to help you determine what type of custody agreement can be implemented based on those concerns. You should also consider getting a restraining order if there is evidence of abuse or neglect.
If you suspect that a teenager in your life is being abused or neglected, it is important to reach out for help. Many resources are available to families dealing with abuse or addiction and getting started on the road to recovery can make a world of difference for everyone involved.
Listen to Your Teenagers Concerns & Watch for Changes in Mood or Behavior
Abuse, including sexual abuse can occur within parent-child and sibling relationships. Therefore, accusations should be taken seriously, and mental health services provided sooner rather than later.
If you notice sudden shifts in mood or behavior, that is persistent over time, this may be an indication that something is wrong. All behavior communicates and a change from normal, typical behavior for your teenager to being more quiet, sad, angry, or starting to have behavioral challenges communicates they need help.
Teenagers, young adults, and adults alike who seek mental health services sooner rather than later are shown to have better outcomes. Those who wait tend to have a lower percentage of positive outcomes. The longer one struggles with the challenge, the longer it can take in teen therapy or young adult counseling to help them overcome that challenge.
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to prove abuse has occurred. The accused parent can argue it is an attempt by the accuser to keep the other away from your children.
If you are concerned that your teenager has been abused, including sexual abuse, it is important to follow up with your teenager's physician and follow the legal advice of your attorney and law enforcement. In terms of custody and visitation, an experienced divorce attorney can help you protect your teens from an abusive parent and ensure a safe and healthy future. It is important to seek mental health support for your teenager.
Reach Out to an Experienced Teen Counselor or Young Adult Therapist
A teen therapist or young adult counselor can help your child process the trauma of abuse and begin to heal. And, if you are concerned about your mental health, please reach out for help. There are many resources available in and around the Katy, Texas area for children, teens, young adults, and adults. You are not alone.
Divorce is difficult for everyone involved, but it can be tough on teenagers. When one parent is abusive, it can be even more challenging for teenagers to thrive.
Get mental health services if you need them, and don’t hesitate to contact law enforcement or Child Protective Services if you feel like your teenager is in danger. You are not alone, and there are people who want to and can help.
Katy Teen & Family Counseling: Experienced Teen Therapists & Young Adult Counselors in Katy, Tx
At our Katy, Tx location of Katy Teen & Family Counseling, Our teen counselors and young adult therapists can help teens whose parents are going through a divorce. Seeing a teen therapist your young adult counselor can play a vital role in a teen or young adults mental health.
Katy Teen & Family Counseling is easy to get to and is conveniently located just off of 99 and I-10. If you are ready to start teen counseling or young adult therapy, all you need to do is follow these three simple steps:
Contact Katy Teen & Family Counseling
Speak with our therapists who specialize in teen & young adult counseling
Get the support that you and your teen may need during a difficult time
Other Therapy and Counseling Services Offered at Katy Teen & Family Counseling
At our Katy, Tx location of Katy Teen & Family Counseling, we use therapy and counseling approaches that are supported by research. These approaches have been shown to work in the shortest amount of time.
We also offer the following therapy and counseling services:
Peak performance (optimal academic brain performance)
Peak performance (optimal athletic brain performance)
Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART)
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR Therapy)
Group Therapy for Teens
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Support Group for Parents
Parents of teenagers and young adults face unique challenges. The "Parents Supporting Parent's" group at Katy Teen & Family Counseling provides a place where parents can meet with other parents of teenagers and young adults who may be struggling.
Parents will walk away from this group with a greater feeling of support, actionable skills, and even friendships.
About the Author
She enjoys using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) & Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) due to their effectiveness in improving symptoms associated with ADHD/ADD, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, trauma, PTSD, and other challenges.
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