Hormones play a big part in the mood and behavioral changes of teenagers. Not only does it make them prone to irritability and mood swings, but it also makes them crave independence from their parents. If you are co-parenting a teen after divorce, then you know how difficult it is when your teen starts becoming more assertive.
But remember, divorce is hard on teenagers too. The pain can make them act out by insulting or refusing to talk to you. While getting angry or complaining about their behavior can be tempting, do not forget that you are the parent.
Here are some of the ways co-parents can support their teenagers during a difficult time:
Take an active interest in their life
It can be easy to forget that teenagers have their own lives too and could be dealing with all sorts of pressure. Teenage problems may appear petty to a parent but overwhelming to a young adult. But because teens value their independence, they may put up barriers or prefer to be left alone.
Avoid making the mistake of believing that they can deal with problems on their own. They may not show it, but sometimes they just need someone to listen.
Find time to have regular one-on-one sessions with them, such as consistent breakfasts and dinners, trips to the mall, or getting involved with their hobbies to make them feel more comfortable opening up to you.
Respect their opinions
Your teen’s opinions may start differing from yours as they gain more experience and knowledge. Dismissing their ideas or telling them they are wrong will only worsen things. Instead, consider hearing them out and reminding them that it is acceptable for people to have different perspectives.
Lay out clear and fair ground rules
Discuss with your co-parent how much independence you will allow your teenager. Maintaining similar rules and ways of discipline from one household to another will help give your child stability and may reduce their desire to rebel.
The hormones surging in teenagers can stir up all sorts of emotions and feelings that often worsen after divorce. This is when they need to know they are not alone and that you love them the most. They may also be more receptive to the new arrangement if you and your co-parent can show that you are a team.