How do we enter their world?

As parents we often forget that our children are watching our every move and model our actions, words and behaviours.  So, when our lives are altered in a certain way such as parents separating or divorcing, we forget how much they observe and listen to our fighting and arguing. A lot of the time the parents bring sadness, fear and grief into the family by arguing during a separation or divorce and this greatly affects our children’s well-being.  

Recently I have been working with a few families where the young girls are affected from either a recent split with their family unit or a split awhile back. Most girls have used coping mechanisms such as cutting, overdosing on tablets, hair pulling, rebelling at school, lying, stealing from family. Attention seeking behaviour can be a form of mental disorder, but it can also be a form of manipulation and performing as a direct means of trying to communicate when relationships are broken down.

Most of the girls I am coaching use coping mechanisms to get through each day to deal with their anxiety, angst and hidden traumatic lifestyle that they are currently coping with. Some of these mechanisms consist of distraction, grounding, self-love, emotional release, thought challenge and accessing your higher self.  The emotional traumatic events that take place in these girls lives whilst parents fight, sleep separately, move out, find another partner, take more interest in the other partner, fight with the ex, fight for money and possessions, is manic and creates barriers between the whole family unit.

The results of effective communication towards our children/teens are extremely important when we have a split in any relationship this in turn can lead to a better result family unit.

Common effects Separation/Divorce on children:

  • Anger and irritability
  • Poor performance in Academics
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Destructive behavior
  • Depressed
  • Increase in health problems
  • Emotionally sensitive
  • Loss of interest in social activities
  • Difficulty adapting to change

"Care about what they care about" - Charlotte Edwards

Coming from a split family can be difficult for any child and if the parents can work amicably with their ex then it can take the pressures off the family unit. Many teens react differently to grief and will show different behaviours’. When a teens’ parent split or divorce it can bring feelings of shame and doubt and they find it hard to trust people to talk to at that age. It doesn’t matter how old they are they still need honesty, guidance and constant reassurance that this is not their fault. Release them from all the blame and seek counselling so that their future relationships aren’t affected.  

How do we assist our teens with their emotions during a family break-up?

  • Care about what they care about
  • Be their mentor
  • Teach respect and boundaries
  • Enquire about their concerns and worries
  • Eat dinner together without phones
  • Ask to hang out together/invite their friends over (and become involved and interested)
  • Write a fabulous handwritten note/letter (especially when they don’t expect it)
  • Pay attention to their emotions
  • Have a family/movie/games night/go camping * Become involved in their world

How do we CONNECT with our teens?

Spend quality time with them in their surroundings. Be humorous with them! Enjoy your children/teens for who they are and always listen to them!

It is extremely important to keep structure and a normal routine in their everyday lives, keep a warm family environment with the communication doors always open.

Work around your children when it comes to the days and times that you and your ex-husband/partner get to spend with them. Be flexible and allow for each family’s events and sporting activities. Make sure you are on time and are informative to the other parent of each child’s necessary requests and requirements. Always be respectful and show the children that although you find it hard to live together you can still be adults and talk respectfully. Don’t use the children as a pawn to your own wants and needs and as a way to get your own back on your ex.  Early interventions with these teens may have a profound and positive effect on their future endeavors and schooling. Focusing on a positive and strong family unit and promoting a high level of parenting support and communication is crucial to your teens well-being. Facing residential change as a teen can be a huge spiral downwards in their academic achievements.

Remember, parenting is one of the most important responsibilities that we will take upon us and if we need to ask for help or seek guidance then do so.

ABOUT the Blogger:

Charlotte Edwards is a Youth & parenting coach  in our directory who partners with families and youth in crisis.  Charlotte’s experience has come from an allied health industry.

Crossroads Youth Coaching is a mobile mentoring service to assist the troubled teens and families within the Brisbane and Gold Coast region. Most of Charlotte’s coaching is walking alongside the youth and assisting troubled teens to get back on track with everyday life.


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