Parenting Teenagers of Divorce
Parenting teenagers is never an easy job, but parenting teenagers of divorce can present it’s own set of challenges. Here are a few guidelines I offer the parents I work with that have proven effective in parenting teenagers of divorce.
* Regardless of what the other parent’s rules are in their home, it is up to parents to set their own rules in their respective environments. Often there is one parent that is more lenient than the other parent. The stricter parent doesn’t want to be the “bad” guy and often fails to follow through with the consequences put in place for unacceptable behavior. This often stems from feeling guilty about the divorce situation. However, somebody must be the “responsible” parent and not be the teenager’s “friend” all the time. Teenagers need guidance, rules, and consistency in parenting. Parents need to parent from the perspective of, “What’s in the best interest of my child”… not, “How can I make this less painful for myself ?” Or… “I don’t want to be the ‘bad guy’ again.”
This, of course, may also apply to parenting where there is no divorce situation. The very best situation is that parents are unified in their parenting approach so the teen is unable to manipulate the situation… regardless.
* Be sure your teen understands the expectations in your home in that you have clearly, simply communicated them to your teen. You may want to include your teenager in a discussion of expectations and consequences. Of course, the parent’s decision is the final one. Be consistent in your guidelines and follow through with consequences. This is extremely important… Consistency and follow-through.
Remember, you cannot control what is going on in your ex’s home re: rules and guidelines. You can attempt to communicate the fact that being unified is best for the teen. If this simply is not possible, it’s healthier for you to let it go and maintain your own expectations, guidelines and rules for your home.
Parents lay the foundation of the future of their children.