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Talking to your teen during divorce

Going through a divorce with children of any age is a challenge, but teenagers come along with their own special needs. Whether you share equal child custody with your ex or have limited visitation, you and your teen may be experiencing some confusing changes during your break-up. A few simple strategies and perspective-changing advice can help you save your relationship with your teen during this trying time.

Keep in mind that your children are going through a deeply difficult time in their own lives, with or without the divorce. In fact, most 16-year-old girls are likely to yell, "I hate you!" at their parents, regardless of their physical custody situation. Further, your teen children may respond differently from one another. Boys and girls experience different emotions during their teen years, and even children of the same gender may be going through their own version of the breakup. Ultimately, your children's negative behavior can create distance within the relationship, which is extraordinarily difficult to deal with.

In response, divorcing parents of teens need to remember to be compassionate. These youngsters need both of their parents in their lives, even though they may not realize that fact during their entire adolescence. Handling these conflicts with grace even under the most difficult circumstances will affect your ability to relate with your children in the long term. If you have questions about interacting with your teen during and after your divorce, consider seeking help from a qualified mental health professional or divorce coach. Discuss strategies with your ex. Further, simply think before you act or speak; hurtful comments toward your children today can have a lifelong effect.

Your sincerity and patience toward your children can build a lasting relationship, even without the endurance of your marriage to your ex. Remember to put the interests of your children first, and you will enjoy a life of positive interaction with them.

Source:, "Teens Taking Sides a Painful Consequence of Divorce" Rosalind Sedacca, Sep. 18, 2013

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