Divorce, it should be a four-letter word. Unfortunately in today's society it is extremely common, but to the people that have gone through it or are currently going through a divorce, it can feel like you're the only one. The pain can be so great that it is seemingly impossible to think clearly or much less handle your emotions wisely, especially when there are teens involved. What we as parents have to realize is everything we say or do can steer the thoughts of our teens and we may be unaware that we are doing it. My wish is to help parents guide their teens in a positive direction. Divorce stinks, but we don't have to be stinky parents while going through one.
What if your teen seems emotionless? If your teen shows little emotion and acts like they don't care about their parents' separation, talk to them even if they don't talk back. Reassure them that their future will not be altered by continuing plans for the car they've been wanting or preparing for their choice college. Teens deal with their emotions in different ways. If your teen won't open up and talk about their feelings, focus on the positive aspects of life and that will help their minds dwell on other thoughts beyond all the negative.
What if your teen is angry? If your teen has built up anger and hurt toward one parent but refuses to get counseling, encourage them to write down their feelings. They would never have to show anyone. You can tell them to address their letters to God. He will always be there to listen. Journals are also good. My daughter calls her journal "The Venting Book." She reveals all her emotions and feelings in her book.
Hide your emotions. The parents are going to be the biggest influence on their teen's emotions while wading through a divorce. Try not to speak negatively about your estranged spouse in front of your teen. Also don't let them see that your world has just come crashing down around you or they will think theirs has too. Find a private place and time for yourself to let your emotions out. Just because you're on the emotional roller coaster ride of your life doesn't mean your teen should be on the ride with you.
Enjoy life. Get out and do things with your teen; learn about each other. Explore new interests. You may be going through the hardest time in your life, but take a moment and look around you. You've already taken that next breath. The sun still comes up everyday. You are a blessed person. Find the good in your life and realize it.
God loves you and He will never put more on you than can be handled. Your teenager is even more precious to Him then he or she is to you. Just remember the three L's: Listen. Learn. Love.