Going through a divorce and the lengthy processes to get it finalized can be a stressful and hectic period of time, not only for you, but also if you have a teenager. Initially, your teen may seem like the perfect gentleman or lady and attempt to remain neutral about the divorce of their parents.
They often have to make some adjustments, but in stable homes, where both parents are contributing equally, their life continues on. As they hit those “rebellious” years during puberty, which we all have experienced to some extent, things can start to change.
Your teen has figured out which parent is the “cool” parent in their eyes and which one is the more restrictive parent with “all these rules.” This can often lead to your teen blurting out they want to go live with the other parent, especially when you teen is trying to get their way, regardless of any established house rules, like a set curfew on school nights.
Initially, you might feel a sense of shock because you cannot believe what came out of your teen’s mouth. However, as it starts to sink in, it is not uncommon to feel hurt or slightly angered. The key thing to remember is your teen is experiencing growing pains and testing out the new boundaries of a post-divorce household.
Avoid taking what they said personally or responding in a negative manner. Sure, all divorced parents with teenagers have thought about responding by telling their unruly teen, “Fine, if you do not like my rules, go live with your dad (or mom). They should get to experience how much fun your drama is too!”
Of course, saying this to your teen sends them the message your love is based on conditions. This is why, even though the thought is going through your head, you should refrain from uttering it aloud.
Next, making this “threat” to your teen lessens your authority over them. If you do not follow through on actually dropping them off to live with their dad (or mom), they will realize you no longer have control over them.
This can be troublesome when it comes to more important issues you take a stand against. They are just going to shrug it off and not value what you are saying, let alone respect your decisions. This is a common underlying cause why some divorced parents have issues with their teens sneaking out at night or not coming home at a specific time.
A more appropriate way to handle this specific type of outburst is by remaining calm. Step back, take a deep breath, and walk away to give yourself time to think on what your teen has said, what the disagreement is truly about, and how best to address the issue with your teen.
Many divorced parents also find it beneficial to discuss these types of outbursts with one of our communications counsellors, here at Bayridge Counselling Centre. Through counselling they learn how to develop effective parenting skills to respond to situations like this to maintain parental authority over their teens. For more information about communications counselling services, please feel free to contact us at 905-319-1488 to schedule a consultation appointment today!