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

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • Mel
    Re: Selling the Jointly Owned Home
    Hi just curious I have been in defector relationship for 9years. Relationship is strained after 19year old daughter moved in.we…
    21 January 2020
  • Rob
    Re: Selling the Jointly Owned Home
    I have been living with my partner, my son and her daughter for three years. I also have two daughters from a previous…
    18 January 2020
  • Sad
    Re: Selling the Jointly Owned Home
    Hi, I've been with my partner for 16 years, married for 8. We got a mortgage 13 years ago and now have 2 children 6 and 8.weve…
    18 January 2020
  • Prodigal Cleese
    Re: Selling the Jointly Owned Home
    Hi, bought family home with my mother. But now relationship is untenable, I’d like to move out, but have capital in house and…
    15 January 2020
  • Red015
    Re: Selling the Jointly Owned Home
    I have a joint mortgage with my ex fiancé we have had the house for 5 years, she is being uncooperative with a sale and is…
    13 January 2020
  • Spud
    Re: Selling the Jointly Owned Home
    I purchased a house with my late parents. I’m on the deeds and now they have both passed over my siblings both older, want to…
    12 January 2020
  • Worst point in my li
    Re: Selling the Jointly Owned Home
    Hi I am in Scotland split with ex we were just living together, 11yrs. Property is in joint names I was asked to move out by the…
    11 January 2020
  • Kayla
    Re: Should You Tell Your Ex You're Dating Again?
    I’ve been seeing someone new and my ex doesn’t know and he still has feelings for me. I feel bad telling him.…
    10 January 2020
  • Tan
    Re: Selling the Jointly Owned Home
    My ex and I were not married we have a joint mortgage on our property I have our 2 children aged 15 & 7 in the house and he…
    7 January 2020
  • Tom
    Re: Selling the Jointly Owned Home
    My wife and I are going through separation and we have a joint mortgage. She is willing to sell the house outright and split the…
    4 January 2020