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Signs a teenager is struggling to cope with divorce

On Behalf of | Jul 6, 2024 | Family Law & Divorce

Children react differently to divorce. However, many teenagers whose parents are divorcing may share some of the same struggles.

Many teenagers’ outward stoicism may be hiding great mental and emotional upheaval on the inside. A family separation can be quite disorienting, and so it can help if divorcing parents watch out for signs that their teenager is struggling to deal with divorce.

Academic decline

Naturally, a teenager who is struggling to come to terms with their parents’ divorce can have a hard time in school. Divorcing parents should keep a keen eye on their teenager’s academic performance once they break the news of separation to the family. A teenager who is struggling to concentrate on their studies may have:

  • Slipping grades
  • Incomplete assignments
  • A lack of interest in school activities

Divorcing parents may also receive reports from teachers that their teenager is

  • Daydreaming in class
  • Acting out in class
  • Missing classes

To support a teenager whose academic performance is declining during a divorce, divorcing parents can explore additional support such as:

  • In-person tutoring
  • Open conversations about school
  • Counseling

Hands-on support can provide insights into how teachers and divorcing parents can support a struggling teenager during this transition.

Emotional outbursts and mood swings

Most teenagers exhibit mood swings due to the hormonal changes they’re experiencing during this adolescent development stage. However, emotional outbursts can become more pronounced during a stressful period like a divorce. A teenager who is grappling with their parents’ divorce may:

  • Frequently get angry
  • Suddenly become irritable
  • Exhibiting extreme sadness

These are telltale signs that they have no idea how to regulate the emotions that their parents’ separation has evoked. Emotional outbursts simply mean that their nervous system is overwhelmed by the cocktail of feelings raging through their body. A teenager’s emotional outbursts can be in the form of:

  • Yelling
  • Crying
  • Feeling hopeless and helpless

Divorcing parents should reassure their struggling teenagers that it’s okay to feel all their emotions and encourage them to express their feelings in healthy ways.

Handing over the logistics of divorce to a reliable legal team can enable divorcing couples to focus on supporting their children during this challenging transition.