Nuclear families have a tough time with teenagers – and it’s much the same with blended and single-parent families.
As teenagers go through this emotionally stressful period of their lives, they will make mistakes, and need their parents. Especially during a period of upheaval, such as a separation or divorce, it’s important to provide a network of strong support and guidance.
Teenagers will be more aware of tension within their parents’ relationship than younger children. Because of this, they may show higher levels of anger towards one parent, or loyalty to one parent, as well as new spouses or partners. They may also be better at hiding their own feelings towards the divorce.
What can parents do?
As listed on the Government of Canada website, it’s important to have direct communication you’re your older children. It’s best that both parents are present to explain how parenting will work moving forward. Be honest with your teenagers, even if the honest answer is “we don’t have a plan yet” or whichever stage of the separation or divorce you are currently going through.
Parents should pick and choose which battles they want to take on. Recognizing a child’s growing independence versus putting your foot down can be difficult if both parents are not on the same page. As parents, you and your former partner should determine a way of figuring out how to deal with issues such as homework, curfews, parties, social engagements, trouble at school, etc.
If you have questions about parenting plans following a divorce, it’s best advised that you discuss those questions with a family lawyer. A legal professional will be able to tell you how to best structure a plan that puts the needs of your children first.