They may seem indifferent, but they are not!
Eliška was fifteen when her parents told her she was going to divorce. Her father found another woman. Eliška seemed indifferent to the whole situation. Unfortunately, it was only a pose amplified by puberty. The girl wanted to look grown-up and rough – both in appearance and in demeanor. But it was hard afterwards. The parents felt that their teenage daughter accepted everything and solved nothing, so they only dealt with their pains and injustices, often with great emotion. Divorce engulfed them. Before Eliška’s father finally moved, the girl heard many quarrels.
Six months after the divorce, Eliška ended up in psychiatry, injured herself and developed anorexia nervosa. Later it turned out that the girl could not cope with her parents’ divorce, in part she even blamed her. Eliška is not the only teenager to have taken her parents’ divorce very badly. Unfortunately, parents of teenagers often inadvertently contribute to their misunderstanding.
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They deceive the body and the behavior
Teens often don’t like talking to their parents about their feelings, but that doesn’t mean they’re not going through anything! Like Eliška, they often look “rough” and try to give the impression that they don’t care. Typically, however, they mask their internal uncertainty and grounding. No wonder hormones run wild and they themselves sometimes feel lost in the void between childhood and adulthood. Parents then have the feeling that their adolescent children are little affected by the divorce. But the opposite is often true. Unfortunately, puberty is an extremely difficult time. “Children of this age are undoubtedly a very high risk group. The feelings of the child change considerably and, as he grows, his ideas about what really happened and why”, emphasizes Heather Smith , social counselor and author of Children and Divorce But there are other pitfalls to the apparent indifference of teenagers.
Don’t make your child an intermediary, a confidant and a judge!
Some parents have a tendency to confide in their teenagers, to make them play the role of judge and confessor, pushing them consciously or unconsciously to the decision to join one side or the other. Experts strongly warn against such behavior. “This judicial role, in which the child is pushed and coerced, often does not correspond to his age, but also to his general position in the family. The child is placed on demands which he cannot meet and receives questions that he cannot solve. This causes him tension, anxiety, discord, inner turmoil, ”wrote the famous Czech child psychologist Zdeněk Matějček in one of his books.
Wouldn’t you rather divorce?
Especially in long-term strained relationships, where the whole family is exposed to quarrels, tensions and other tense situations for several years, parents may be encouraged to divorce their children.
Who wouldn’t want peace? Unfortunately, even this mature invitation is expensive. In such cases, psychologists point out that these teens may be more mentally and socially advanced than their peers, but over time they often struggle with a sense of a “stolen childhood.” Instead of feeling supported by their mother and father and their family environment, they tend to fend for themselves. But even these “strong” teenagers need the support of an adult at the time of the divorce, sometimes even professional help, a space to testify and also the possibility of grieving without having the impression of s worry about someone. Parents should think about it!
Helping teens deal with divorce
Divorce is difficult and anyone who has been through it knows how much power and energy it takes. However, this does not relieve us of our responsibility towards our teenagers! What to pay attention to?
Never wash “dirty laundry” in front of children. Children love both parents and it is extremely painful to see these two people hurting each other.
Whenever you talk about a former partner, keep in mind that you are talking about someone your child loves! It’s his second parent, his blood. Do not spread poison, children suffer from divorce without it.
Don’t forget to tell your teenagers that you love them, they sometimes look like it but they need to feel it and hear it!
Absolutely never make your teenager a confessor, psychologist, mediator, informant or judge. You will greatly hurt his fragile soul.
Don’t push your child into the role of a judge, this role hurts him more than you think.
Never allow grandparents to slander an ex-partner’s children! Grandparents may be relieved, but they will hurt the children so much!
The opposite of post-divorce difficulties is an unhealthy attachment to a child of whom you have sole custody. “In adolescence, children must gradually detach themselves from their parents. Children raised by their mothers are more likely to have problems with this. They show excessive dependence on their mothers. They avoid the independence or, on the contrary, try to find it in an insufficiently immature way”, points out the author of her book, Fathers, divorces and children, by its author Marie Černá.