The American colonies is said to have witnessed their first divorce in 1643, at a Puritan court in Massachusetts. And since then, an increased number of children are bound to live in single-parent households.
Children, irrespective of their age, deserve trust, loyalty, safety, security and a sense of belongingness. With increasing number of divorces, a growing number of children in the United States share a common devastating experience. Studies show that children from divorced parents are vulnerable to higher levels of insecurity, instability and inability to trust compared to children from intact families. This, in turn, may lead to low educational outcomes, substance abuse, and other visible as well as invisible behavioral problems.
Parental divorce is known to be a period of distress for most teens as it exposes them to a renewed family formation, one to which they are not used to, and a new style of life. In addition, various social, emotional, and financial factors add to their miseries at the same time. It is observed that teens of divorce have low self-esteem, exhibit uncontrolled behavior, and tend to feel anxious, depressed and withdrawn.
Statistics reveal that over a million children in the U.S. have battled some level of behavioral, social and cognitive damage resulting from parental divorce. Researchers suggest that most of these teens ‘grow up a little faster’ and start to feel the burden of responsibilities at an early age compared to the children of their own age.
Temporary or permanent separation of parents is hard on children. Teens of divorce experience a tremendous sense of loss, which increases their vulnerability to behavioral problems. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the parents to rise above their personal indifferences and help their children deal with the loss. Here are some of the ways divorcing parents can try to help their children feel less anxious:
Talk to the teens: It is important for parents to talk to their grown-up children about their decision. This is because teens are mature enough to understand divorce and are more vulnerable to experiencing the negative consequences of change that divorce is expected to bring in their lives. Parents need to acknowledge their emotions of anger, frustration and/or sadness. They need to explain to their adolescent children why they have agreed upon this arrangement in order to gain their approval and support while preparing them mentally.
Assure the teens of continued love and care: Parents parting ways can reassure their children that their decision will not affect the love and care they get from both the parents. Children should feel secure about their parents’ support to avoid negative consequences of divorce. Most importantly, parents should practice what they preach and ensure that children are not feeling isolated and depressed in the absence of either of the parent.
Allow the teens some time to adjust to parental separation: It is advisable for parents to announce their divorce plans to their children significantly in advance. This will allow them the much-needed time to prepare themselves for social and emotional challenges that come in tow with a divorce.
Parents may have their share of grief of separation but they cannot leave their children to their miseries. It is important for parents to keep an eye on their children to evaluate their feelings and behavior after knowing about their decision. They should see a psychologist to know about the possible signs of any behavioral problems in their children caused due to parental separation.
Here are a few indicators that can represent distress or anxiety in teens experiencing parental divorce:
In case the parents observe any signs of troubled behavior or sudden changes related to distress in their children, they should report them immediately to a physician. Ignorance may lead to aggravation of symptoms and other associated complications.
ADEONA Healthcare offers specialized treatment to help teens experiencing adverse effects of parental divorce. We hold expertise in all effective treatment techniques including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), individual, group and family psychotherapy, lifestyle development, cognitive remediation, and relapse prevention, among others. Experiential therapy equips teens with new skills while helping them discover healthy ways to recover and return to normal life.
To know more about how ADEONA Healthcare devises its plans to maximize protection and reduce risk factors for teens of divorce, call our 24/7 helpline (888) 379-9360. You can even chat online to our representative to seek the required help your teen needs to see life in a new light.