Divorce is a very devastating thing. It is upsetting for kids, parents, and close friends and family. Everyone deals with pain differently depending on who we are as a person, and every teenager and every family is unique in their own way. So the reasons and dynamics of every divorce are different. Therefore, it is very hard to predict or prescribe how particular teens will respond to their parent’s divorce.
Statistics show that teenagers from divorced families can be more aggressive, anxious, have higher drop out rates, and have higher rates of drug and alcohol use. Now don’t get me wrong, not all teenagers have these problems. Researchers say that teenagers with divorced families are more at risk for these factors. It might not affect a teenager at all, it just depends on the situation.
After the divorce, teens can then be forced to “grow up quickly.” By “grow up quickly” I mean taking on adult responsibilities such as babysitting siblings, getting a job to help with the bills, and transporting their siblings back and forth. Acting as an adult at a young age tends to put a lot of stress on the teenager; they feel like they have no outlet. Many teenagers indicate they are ready to go home and catch a nap after school, when they do go home, they wind up with bigger responsibilities, such as getting the kids bathed, cooking dinner, and most likely cleaning the house and doing laundry.
Often teenagers feel like the divorce is their fault. It can be very stressful for people to blame those they care about for doing something hurtful, especially their parents. Many teenagers blame themselves for their parents behaviors, because they feel like it is better to deal with emotionally. These beliefs can cause the teenagers to be angry with themselves or upset.
After a traumatic incident like divorce, many teenagers can become estranged from their parents and their family as a whole. Teenagers start to drift away from their parents, because they resent them from what they view as ruining their family. They don’t feel comfortable expressing their feelings anymore, because they feel that they were the ones complaining and whining. Also they may feel that their complaining and whining could be what drove their parents apart. Some teens turn to their friends, and sometimes the friends that they turn to aren’t actually friends. They tend to fall into drugs and many other things trying to get their mind off of “what they did” to their family.
Divorce can be a very a stressful thing on teenagers, but ultimately it affects different people in different ways.