Christians and Divorce - How Divorce Affects Teenagers

Christians and Divorce - How Divorce Affects Teenagers -- Karla Downing 
Christians dealing with divorce need to know how the divorce affects their children. This article deals with how it affects teenagers, since each age will have its unique challenges. Here are five ways teenagers respond to divorce:
Teens will be focused on how the divorce affects them. The parent wanting the teen to show empathy or concern for him/her will probably not get it. Teens are egocentric and view the world mainly as to how it affects them. They will be focused on the effect on their own life, which means they will be angry about the injustices and inconveniences that directly affect them or if they didn't like things going on in the home, they will be relieved the problems are gone.
Teens will use the parent split to their advantage. Teens want freedom and material things. This means they will most likely want to live with the parent that will give them the most of both. They will use one parent against the other by threatening to live with the other parent, comparing one parent with the other, and anything else they can do to get their way. The threats and manipulation are purposeful and can be painful to endure, because it will feel like the teen is rejecting one parent and siding with the other.
Teens will be upset about the loss of the ideal. Teens are idealistic and as a result, they tend to be angry and judgmental toward parents who display weakness and an inability to handle their own life and relationships. This means that a teenager will question their parents' right to tell them what to do, because the teen sees the parent as having lost authority. This increases the stress between teens and parents when the teen is already questioning the parents' values and beliefs and challenging authority.
Teens will do more of whatever they already do. If a teenager is prone to rebelliousness, depression, low self-esteem, drug use, poor grades, anxiety, eating disorders, anxiety, or high achievement, they will likely do more of it, because each of these is used as a coping mechanism and way of responding to the emotional and relational struggles the teen already is dealing with and divorce increases the pain and stress. The exception is that a teen that is getting good grades and is a high achiever may struggle with depression and not do as well academically.
Teens will question God and faith. It is natural and necessary for a teen to question the beliefs and values they have been raised with. Natural because they are exposed to all kinds of views as they expand their relationships outside the family and necessary because they have to decide for themselves what they believe. Divorce adds a challenge for the teen, since the beliefs they were raised with and the ideals their parents presented may now appear to be untrue. If God is as powerful as the teen was raised to believe, then why isn't He able to fix the parents' marriage? If the parent has so strong of a faith in God, then why isn't that faith enough to change the parent to fix the marriage?
Understanding how the divorce will affect your teenager will help you in your decision of whether to divorce or not. It may be better to wait until your teen is older, if possible. If the divorce is inevitable, then knowing how your teen will respond will prepare you to deal with his/her behavior and struggles.
If you need more practical tips and Biblical truths to help you change your relationships, get my FREE "15-Day Relationship Challenge" designed to give you back the power over your life.  Just click here: Karla Downing is an author, speaker, licensed marriage and family therapist, and Bible study teacher. Karla's passion is to help people find freedom in Christ in the midst of their difficult relationships and circumstances through Biblical truths and practical tools. Article Source:  Article Source:

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