Divorce. Death. Remarriage.

Forever is a very long time and nothing lasts forever. For some, this may be not true but for some, it is. This applies to marriages and not all end in a happy ever after. When this time comes, family members should know how to handle it.

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Divorce is not about dealing with marriage, it is also about dealing with children. Image courtesy of Jaburg & Wilk

Helping Your Teen Adjust to Divorce

In an article by Gary Gilles, he talks abut how to help children, specially the teens, cope up with the parents’ divorce.

Divorce is never easy for a child regardless of their age, but the teen years pose special challenges. Adolescence is already a time of turmoil. The average teenager is trying to cope with body changes, hormones, peer pressures, the opposite sex, acne, and school work.

Teenage typhoon

Your teen looks to you for stability and guidance amid the turbulent storms of adolescence. The ending of a marriage turns a normal adolescent storm into a typhoon and calls into question whether anyone will be there to help him navigate these treacherous waters. But safe passage for your teenager depends a great deal on the way you handle the divorce and the type of encouragement you offer your teen.

Healthy adolescent adjustment to divorce requires you and your teenager to work together. Your job is to step into their shoes; see your divorce from their perspective. Their job is to be honest with themselves and you about their struggle with the divorce.

Opening up

Your teenager probably understands why you got a divorce and on the surface may appear to take it in stride. But don’t believe this masquerade. Your teen almost assuredly has a large pool of emotions swirling inside her about the divorce and the many changes it brings for her life. These emotions might include sadness, anger, loneliness, or depression. Some kids act these emotions out through attention seeking behavior while others turn the emotion inward and withdraw from nearly everyone around them. Neither leads to a healthy adjustment.

The best option is to help your teenager talk about their feelings. Putting feelings into words unlocks the painful and often confusing emotion that is often stored up inside them. It helps them make sense out of things that seem senseless. It adds clarity and perspective. It also enlightens you to their struggles and allows you to show support, empathy and care.

Teens vary greatly in their ability and willingness to open up to parents. Some will talk if they sense you are truly interested. Others may refuse to talk openly with you because they are angry and want to punish you.

Teenagers are not adults

Adolescents from divorced homes often seem to grow up faster than other kids. They look like teenagers but their behavior seems more adult. It’s easy for overwhelmed, lonely or time-starved single parents to expect their teen to be an adult; to fill in the gap of the missing parent. Yet this puts an unfair burden on the back of your teen that they shouldn’t have to bear.

By giving them permission to be a teen you also are making a statement that they are still emotionally dependent upon you. Following a divorce, teenagers need consistent routines, firm limits and a supportive relationship from both parents. Work hard at keeping traditions like eating dinners together, keep parameters in place like an established curfew, and support them by attending school events they participate in.

In an era where many teenagers are raising themselves, fight to stay emotionally connected to your child. They need your guidance, your discipline and your love, despite their insistence that they are self-sufficient.

Working as co-parent

Perhaps the most difficult task in helping your teenager adjust to divorce is working amiably with your former spouse as a co-parent. This means that you and your spouse continue to work together for the benefit of your teenager despite your differences. To do this requires a mature attitude by you and your ex-spouse. It is not easy, but it is crucial to your child’s adjustment.

Research is undeniably clear on this issue. Children from divorced families that have the equal support of both parents adjust far better than those embroiled in constant feuding between the parents. To create that type of supportive environment for your child, take these principles to heart:

Adolescence brings confusion for both parent and child. Divorce and all it implies can turn confusion into chaos. But the best asset you have amid this chaos is your teenager. If you work hard to see the divorce through their eyes, they will give you most if not all of the answers you both need to weather the storm of not only adolescence but of divorce as well. Learn more here.

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Remarriage is often the solution to ones loneliness after divorce or death of a spouse. Image courtesy of Faces of the Heart

Divorce is often the parents’ decision but what if  in the case of the death of a spouse?  In the long run, there is the big chance of marrying again. It would be another situation where children have to adjust.

Michael Lewis wrote for the website Money Crashers on how to deal with the remarriage, particularly for elderly parents.

With death comes grief – sometimes terrible, devastating sadness that seems as if it will never end. But it does end for most people. Dr. George Bonanno, a psychology professor at Columbia University who studies grief, explains that most surviving spouses initially oscillate between periods of deep sadness and distress and recalling good moments of laughter and joy. For most, this period lasts from six months to a year, the periods of sadness gradually lessening over time.

However, as 80-year-old poet and children’s book author Judith Viorst notes, seniors have already experienced “bad stuff” – holes in the brain from which names and dates have dropped, ailments you’ve never heard of, and attending funeral after funeral of dear friends and family. Death is not unexpected, and many have prepared emotionally to some extent for the eventuality.

A New Start

If you have a single elderly parent, the odds are high that you will experience your mother or father finding and enjoying a significant other. In some cases, the couple will decide to get married, although a growing number of seniors are content to just live together. Nevertheless, the new arrangement adds another dimension to the parent-adult child relationship with emotional, financial, and generational complications. As an adult child, you need to handle the situation carefully, honestly, and lovingly. Missteps by either you or your parent can cause hard feelings, even severed relationships that never heal.

Understand Your Own Feelings

When confronted with a parent’s new love, adult children often have conflicting emotions about the relationship – joy and jealousy, relief and resentment, surprise and suspicion. A hundred questions and no answers will pop into your mind:

  • Is Dad is moving too quickly into a new relationship, abandoning Mom and me when I need him most?
  • Why has this new man seduced Mom? What is he really after in the relationship? Her money?
  • What does Dad expect from me? How will my family be affected?
  • Does she know what she’s doing? Is this what Dad would want?
  • What happens to my inheritance? Who gets the property Mom left to Dad (or Dad left to Mom)?

Understand Your Parent’s Needs

Losing a lifelong partner is devastating and frightening for the survivor. By the time you reach 65, after decades in a marriage, many of the rough spots have been worn smooth with the currents of time, just as a stone tumbled and tossed in a river. Older couples frequently say their senior years are the best times of a marriage, being able to focus on each other without the conflicts and responsibilities of children and careers. A long-lasting marriage gives most couples a sense of accomplishment, security, and comfort which death wipes away in an instant. Full article here.

Remarriage either because of divorce or death, the need for settling conjugal properties is always the utmost concern. While others who have multiple houses tend to just give away each, but what if you only have one? The most practical solution is just to sell that house and divide evenly the proceeds. Dependable Homebuyers can help you in that case.

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