It can be very difficult to communicate with your teenaged kids about anything—and especially hard to talk to them about sensitive subjects like your divorce. When you are going through a divorce or separation, one of the ways to make sure your teen is processing your divorce in a healthy way is to provide them with books and guides on the subject. Below, we’ve listed a few of the best resources and literature for older children going through divorce.
- The Divorce Help Book for Teens by Cynthia MacGregor. An expert wrote this book especially for teens on the subject. It contains straightforward advice, stories, and strategies for teens to use while navigating their parents’ divorce and processing their new lives.
- The Smart Girl’s Guide to Her Parents’ Divorce by Nancy Holyoke. This guide consists of a collection of letters from girls whose parents’ are divorcing, along with answers from experts. The book covers everything from the parents’ initial separation to the remarriage of a parent.
- Surviving Divorce by Trudi Strain Trueit. This book especially geared toward teens and preteens gives helpful advice on how to process divorce, from recognizing signs of depression, to keeping a journal, to taking personal responsibility.
- Now What Do I Do? by Lynn Cassella-Kapusinski. This helpful guide for teens includes activities that you can do alone or with friends. It covers a wide range of subjects related to divorce and separation, including processing grief, letting go of guilt, dealing with feelings of anger, and reestablishing healthy communication with both of your parents.
Giving your teens books, guides, and workbooks to help them process your divorce can be extremely helpful, especially in tandem with family counseling and therapy. However, it is important to note that nothing can replace talking face-to-face with your children about your divorce: why it is happening, what will happen in the future, and how they still have two parents who love and care for them.
As a parent considering getting a divorce or who recently divorced, the effect that divorce will have on your child(ren) is surely at the top of your mind. You probably already know that divorce can cause anxiety, stress, and depression in children and teens. But a study published in The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry in 2015 suggests that teen depression after divorce may dissipate with time.
What did the study on teen depression and mental health find?
The researchers assessed 1,160 seventh grade students for depression and mental health, as well as alcohol and cigarette use over a five-year period.
Researchers checked in with the students every three months and found that, compared to students who were living with both parents, students not living with their fathers more often reported depressive symptoms four to six months post-separation.
At seven to nine months after separation from fathers, the separation was associated with:
- Worry and stress
- Stress about parents divorcing
- A new family
However, teens no longer associated the separation with stress about their relationship with their father (as they did at the four- to six-month check-in); rather the teens associated the separation with worry and stress about their relationship with their mother.
The researchers concluded that teens may experience depression-related symptoms following separation from their fathers, but the depression symptoms associated with this separation wane around seven to nine months.
Fortunately, the separation did not make the teens more likely to use alcohol or cigarettes.
Ways to Protect Your Teen During Divorce
We know how hard divorce can be on your teenage children. Moreover, we know that you are worried about your teen and her mental health. You can read more about how your divorce may affect your child, her schooling, and her behavior in our eBook.
When you get a divorce, continue to provide your children with plenty of love and support. Be honest about what is going on, but never badmouth their parent or put your teen in the middle. Reassure your teen that you and your ex-spouse both love your teen very much, and make a diligent effort to keep conflict behind closed doors.
If you notice depressive symptoms in your teen or are worried about their performance in school or mental health, consider professional mental health care.
The Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny assists Washington parents with the legal issues surrounding child custody, child visitation, and child support. To learn more about our services or to speak with a Bellevue child custody lawyer, call 425-460-0550 today.