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Effects of Divorce on Teens

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Quick Links: Quiz: How is your teen handling your divorce?

When parents divorce, it is difficult for the whole family. Children and teens have to deal with an upheaval of their lives and get used to the new reality of their day-to-day living. It is not a surprise that teens of divorce are twice as likely as teens living in non-divorced families to experience difficulties. Roughly 20% to 25% of these teens will have problems. Parents, here are some of the effects divorce can have on your teens:

  • Academic problems, like poor grades
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Stress, worry
  • Sadness or anger at one parent or both
  • Acting out behaviors
  • Substance abuse
  • Depression
  • Suicidal ideation and attempts
  • Have trouble with authority at school or with the police
  • Trouble getting along with siblings, peers and parents
  • Involved in early sexual activity
  • May have difficulty forming intimate relationships.

What effects bother one teen and not another depends on their personality, social and emotional maturity and how the adults around them are handling the divorce. Many teens will have a few sad or angry feelings and acting out behaviors but nothing more because of the difference in the home-life structure. These behaviors can be handled through loving parenting and fair and firm discipline.

When you see your teen dealing with the effects of divorce, keep and eye on them. If you should see that they aren't able to work it out on their own or they start showing signs of the harsher effects of divorce, seek help immediately, see our article How Parents Know Professional Help for Teens Is Needed.

Quick Links: Quiz: How is your teen handling your divorce?

Statitics Source: Patten, Peggy. (1999). Divorce and Children Part I: An Interview with Robert Hughes, Jr., PhD. ParentNews.

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