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Dealing with older kids' independence after a divorce

It has been established that divorce typically has a negative effect on kids, but that does not mean the situation has to wreak havoc on your family. Every child will process a separation differently and react to it in her or his own way, but if you have older kids, you should be prepared for an increased sense of independence following the divorce. According to Psychology Today, this behavior is a common response among adolescents, and learning how to deal with it can equip you to diffuse its consequences.

Expect rebellion

Many parents are unprepared for the changes their children exhibit following a divorce. Just as the process has undoubtedly changed you, though, you should expect it will change your kids. It is not uncommon for this to be manifested in the form of a rebellion. So long as your adolescent's rebellion does not progress into causing harm or breaking the law, you should accept it as a normal phase and continue encouraging your child to communicate.

Encourage communication

Communication is essential to letting your child strike a balance between independence and rebellion. No matter which side of the scale your child tends towards, if you allow her or him to express him or herself and communicate freely, you are far more likely to see your child grow from the experience instead of becoming hostile. If your child is not initiating conversations, you should be doing so and creating a space for nonjudgmental communication.

Facilitate independence

Though rebellion is likely to immediately follow a divorce, adolescents are likely to eventually display increased independence. This means they may take on more responsibilities, develop their own plans and show initiative in various situations. These are ultimately positive traits that should be encouraged. You can do so while still letting your child know you are there to help and talk whenever it is necessary.

Maintain positivity

Regardless of what stage of the process teens are in or how they deal with the divorce, it is important to maintain a positive outlook. Even if they appear to be in the midst of a rebellion, maintaining your positivity is a great way to model the behavior you want to see and encourage them to overcome the emotional obstacles they may be encountering.

Divorce is difficult for every person involved, including kids, but legal issues are even more difficult to handle without a lawyer. Contact an attorney if you are looking for representation in your divorce case.

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