While we hope for the best for our marriages, unforeseen circumstances may eventually lead to divorce. Dividing assets and changing living arrangements can be stressful, in addition to helping a teen daughter cope with her parents' break-up. There are several strategies you can employ to help your daughter heal and move forward with her life. Though the divorce may not be amicable, you and your spouse should try to work together for your daughter's benefit.
Encourage your daughter to speak about her thoughts and feelings during the divorce. Your teen may feel relieved that the relationship has ended, or she may feel angry and blame you for the divorce, according to the Center for Young Women's Health. If you find that talking about the divorce is painful, encourage your daughter to talk to a counselor or other trusted adult instead.
Make a pact with your spouse. Teens and children of divorcing parents may feel like pawns between two angry adults, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Make an agreement that you will not speak ill of one another in front of your teen, nor will you encourage your teen to think negatively of either of her parents. Even if your spouse cannot hold to this agreement, make every effort to encourage your daughter to have a positive relationship with her father.
A father should avoid asking his teen daughter for information about her mother, according to the Mayo Clinic. This also goes for asking your daughter about the room at her mother's house, what she gets to do there and how she likes the food. Instead, ask your daughter what you can do to make your home a more comfortable one for her. Stocking up on her favorite foods and drinks can be a good starting place, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Talk to your spouse about how important it is that he continues to be a presence in your daughter's life. Both of you need to be there to spend time with your teen and to reassure her that you both love and care for her, according to KidsHealth.org. Coordinating care of your daughter, like who picks her up from soccer practice and who attends parent-teacher conferences, is also important, according to the Center for Young Women's Health.
Maintain your daughter's usual lifestyle as much as possible. Attending the same school, seeing her friends and visiting with relatives can provide a sense of normalcy, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.
- Enlist a mediator's help if you are struggling to figure out how to handle affairs related to your daughter, like custody arrangements or schooling. A neutral mediator can help you and your spouse work through any communication difficulties you may be having in order to tend to your daughter's best interests.
- KidsHealth: Dealing With Divorce
- American Academy Of Pediatrics: Making The Divorce Livable For Your Child
- KidsHealth: Tips For Divorcing Parents
- Center For Young Women's Health: Coping With Loss
- Center For Young Women's Health: Dealing With Divorce And Separation
- American Academy Of Pediatrics: Divorce: How To Help Your Teenager
- Public Health Agency Of Canada: Looking At Divorce Through The Eyes Of Your Child
- Mayo Clinic: Children And Divorce: Helping Kids After A Breakup
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