- Do not talk negatively about your ex.
This is put on the list at number one intentionally. Even if your child brings up bad things about your ex, do not contribute. Studies have shown that this is the number one indicator of how drastically a divorce will affect a child in a negative way. No matter what, stay positive or at least neutral when discussing your ex with your child.
- Do not use your child as a go-between.
No matter how old your child is, it is a difficult and awkward position for them to be communicating for their parents. Asking your child to do this clues them in on extra tension and makes them feel in the middle of drama. If communication is difficult between you and your ex, use an adult friend or family member to relay messages.
- Be as open and honest as you can.
Of course there are limits to what you want your child to know about your divorce and there should be (see #1). But, it is also important to remember that this is their family changing too. They will have questions. Decide ahead of time what you are willing to share, and even if in vague terms, be open to talking with them.
- Give a head’s up to teachers and other adults.
Divorce can create ripple affects in a teenager’s life. It is best to let teachers or coaches know, so they have an understanding of what your child is going through if they notice changes in behavior or attitude. This is also helpful so they are prepared if your child confides in them.
- Give your teen support from someone else.
As much as you want to be there for your child, they may feel more comfortable talking to someone else. This could be a teacher, family member, or a life coach. Adults your child already knows can be a great place for support, but often teenagers are more comfortable talking to someone new. I am here to help your child unpack everything going on for them, find their strength, and feel secure in a challenging situation.