Home > Emotional Support > The Impact of Separation on Your Teenage Children

The Impact of Separation on Your Teenage Children

By: Maggie Lonsdale BA (hons) - Updated: 21 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Teenage Children Separation Parent

Being a teenager is hard enough without having to deal with your parents’ separation, but that is not enough reason not to go ahead with the ending of a bad marriage.

You must be prepared to deal with how your teenage children feel about the separation as how you manage this difficult situation will impact on them for the rest of their lives, and the relationships they will have with their own children in the future.

It Can Be Positive

A number of studies have shown that teenage children are far more likely to flourish as adults if their parents separate rather than having direct experience of them staying in a bad marriage. Remember that teenagers are not adults yet – they may think they are, but they do not have the emotional intelligence to separate your relationship from theirs. They also naturally gravitate to blaming themselves for difficult situations and will internalise how their behaviour could have helped you to be happier or stay together.

Don’t forget that being a teenager brings with it all sorts of issues anyway – self-image problems, relationship issues, problems with teachers, school work and exams, friendship difficulties…all on top of the large number of raging hormones that they can’t control and make everything more difficult.

Be Clear that your Child is Not to Blame

This all points to the fact that you need to allow plenty of time to talk to your teenage child about how they are feeling about your separation. You must make it clear over and over again that your separation is absolutely nothing to do with them or their behaviour, however difficult it is, and that even though you no longer feel the same way about their other parent, you both love them very much and that will never change.

You need to be prepared to have this conversation many times, with good grace, even though you will be going through your own emotional turmoil. You and your partner presumably chose to have a child together, so you must both deal with the fall out of your separation. This is especially true if either one of you has a new partner, particularly if there are children with the new partner, as your teenage child will feel even more strongly that it is something to do with them. Repeat that it is nothing to do with them far more times than you think necessary.

Constant Communication

It is unlikely that your teenage child will come out of your separation unscathed, even if you try to handle their emotions as sensitively as possible. As long as you know you have done everything possible, you must simply carry on being there for your child, especially if the partner who has left seems pre-occupied with their new life. Take time to do special things together – it doesn’t have to be expensive, even the coolest teenage children secretly like making cup cakes with their mum or dad.

The most important thing here is constant communication. Don’t shy away from difficult questions – answer as honestly as possible without embarrassing your child and use age-appropriate language. Never make it difficult for them to see their other parent, even if they have been really terrible to you. Certainly don’t use access to your child as a weapon with your partner. It’s not easy but it can be done.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • son
    Re: Selling the Jointly Owned Home
    my ex parther want me to sell our family home or buy him out . i would like to stay in my home . dont know wot to do ...
    19 August 2019
  • SouM
    Re: Buy Out The Mortgage From Your Ex
    Me and my ex partner (not married) own a house as tenants in common. He has put 80% of the deposit and I have put 20%. We…
    10 August 2019
  • NIC
    Re: Selling the Jointly Owned Home
    Hi i left my ex 4 years ago and I remained in the jointly owned property with our 2 kids. Since we split I have paid the…
    3 August 2019
  • Minam
    Re: Should You Tell Your Ex You're Dating Again?
    I don't want my ex back but I feel sorry for him he always cry for and I've found someone new .I broke up…
    11 July 2019
  • Mrs Jennifer Swift
    Re: Selling the Jointly Owned Home
    Hi I split up with my partner 2 years ago and moved out, we have 2 children together, we agreed on splitting everything down the…
    8 July 2019
  • Oli
    Re: Selling the Jointly Owned Home
    My wife and I are separated. Have two children. She lives in the house we jointly own with our children. Up until late last…
    23 June 2019
  • Juju
    Re: Selling the Jointly Owned Home
    A friend brought his house with his then girlfriend 10years ago. She left after 2 years never paying anything but he now wants…
    10 June 2019
  • Shelley
    Re: Selling the Jointly Owned Home
    I have been separated from my husband for 5 years.He wont sign divorce papers and my name is on mortgage.How can I get my divorce
    9 June 2019
  • Lawrence Ham
    Re: Selling the Jointly Owned Home
    my wife has a house with her ex, (not married) she wants out of the mortgage so we can move forward. How do we get her name off…
    21 May 2019
  • Tara
    Re: Selling the Jointly Owned Home
    Hi there I have a slight problem with my partner we always angry with each other we live in the same house but not as partner I…
    13 May 2019