Divorce puts an emotional strain on the children in the family, which can affect their behavior. Teenage children can be particularly troublesome because they can be exposed to bad influences that could get them into serious trouble. In the worst scenarios, an emotionally distraught teen may become involved in criminal or dangerous activities. As a parent, you are responsible for protecting your children and teaching them the difference between right and wrong. You can utilize your parenting time and allocation of parental responsibilities to help your teen through this difficult period.
A Parent’s Role
Being a parent after a divorce means more than providing for the basic living needs of the children and making sure they are attending school. Parents have an irreplaceable role in their children’s emotional development by:
- Spending time with them;
- Paying attention to their behavior;
- Correcting bad behavior; and
- Protecting them from bad influences.
Teenagers can be emotionally volatile even without divorce. Feelings of depression and uncertainty from your divorce may lead to destructive behavior as a way to express their frustrations or ignore their pain. They may avoid coming to you with their problems because you are at the source of those feelings. You will need to be proactive in helping them.
How to Help
Correcting bad behavior in your teenager requires a combination of discipline and compassion. You may need to take strict measures to stop any dangerous behaviors, such as grounding them or taking away certain privileges. However, being overly strict will cause your teen to rebel even more or become more depressed. You need to communicate with your teen about why their behavior concerns you and set up rules that are fair and consistent. Most of all, your teen needs you to acknowledge that the divorce has been painful for them and to ask them to talk about their feelings with you. Sometimes, a teen is more comfortable talking in a clinical setting with a counselor. It is also possible that your teen has emotional problems that require the attention of a mental health professional.
Contact a St. Charles Divorce Attorney
Misbehaving teens need more attention from their parents to resolve their underlying emotional issues. You can best help your teen by making sure you have enough parenting time with them. A Kane County divorce attorney at Goostree Law Group can help you create a parenting plan that best serves your children’s needs. To schedule a free consultation, call 630-584-4800.