How Adolescents Handle Divorce

June 8th, 2015

Adolescents often experience emotional mood swings, rebelliousness, and behavioral issues. Because of this, it can prove difficult to determine the magnitude of divorce on the development process. Even though every family situation is different, there are some common elements of the impact of divorce on adolescence.

By nature, teenagers can be very critical of their parents, and this does not change in the event of the divorce. They are often shocked to learn of their parent separation, even if they have spent years and years living in the tension of an unhappy marriage. It is not uncommon for them to be disappointed and angered by their parents’ failure to keep the family together. How the teen handles this anger varies; they may be vocal about their disappointment with one or both parents, or keep their feelings inside. While there is often some emotional trauma stemming from a divorce, in some cases there may be a feeling of relief.

Often, a teenager will find blame in one parent, and bond more deeply with the other. They may withdraw from the parent who they perceive to demonstrate more short-comings, this is commonly the person that moved out of the house. The feeling of needing to pick sides can escalate when parents trouble them with adult issues. Being too involved in the drama can lead to teens blaming themselves for the problems that drove the parents apart.

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