Raising a teenager is tough, especially when you’re going through a divorce or custody battle. Emotions are running high, things are changing, and sometimes it’s hard to keep up and keep communicating. There’s no easy route and there’s no piece of advice that will help you through the hard days. In short, you’re dealing with the tough stuff right now. So, we’re here to help. We’re going to give you a few pieces of tried and true advice when it comes to raising a teenager, going through tough times, and not pulling your hair out at the end of the day.
Raising a Teenager During Tough Times
Teenagers are tough. They’re moody, their bodies are changing, and they’re becoming more exposed to the adult world. Stir all that up and add one divorce or custody battle, and you have one tough pill to swallow. There’s no easy way to go about it, and there will inevitably be bad days. But, if you can get them to talk with you and communicate how they’re feeling— you’re a winner in all of our books.
Provide emotional support, but don’t bend the rules
It is important to maintain your boundaries and the non-negotiables. But be sure to also give them the emotional support and closeness they need to feel comfortable. Teenagers are no easy task, but communication and leveling with them from time to time is the only remedy. You have to create that mutual respect when it’s being called into question from time to time. Think about it mom/dad, your baby is growing up. And in a tough time too, cut them some slack. But, also stand firm when need be.
Set aside time for fun
If times have been tough and emotions are running high, get yourselves out and about. See a movie, play laser tag, go to the book store— whatever your mutual interests are, go at them with reckless abandon from time to time. You both need an outlet, believe me.
Talk, teach, but don’t preach
Jumping off of that pedestal and talking to them one-on-one in a way that isn’t judge-y can be quite therapeutic for them. Every now and then we need reminders as parents that our children aren’t little gremlins in a cuter package, and they need the same from us. It’s so easy to become desensitized to each other when you spend a lot of time together. If either of you needs a break to calm down, find your zen space, and then come back together to handle a problem— be able to honor that for each other.
Being able to communicate with your teenager enough for them to say: “I’m not in the right headspace to handle this right now, can we talk in thirty minutes?” would be a heavenly accomplishment for a parent. Aim for that! Establishing lines of communication where you both feel comfortable enough to voice your wants and needs is much more productive than that screaming match you keep having over and over.