“I want a divorce.”
The four words millions of mothers have heard from their former partners.
It’s shocking to someone who didn’t see it coming. It’s stressful, sad, overwhelming, and can definitely make someone angry. A mother may ask themselves, “What did I do wrong?” or “how did this happen?”
These are the same questions your teenager may likely ask themselves too and may be just as shocking. And as soon as your teen finds out his parents are getting a divorce, they’re going through the divorce with you as well.
But, “How do I take care of my teenager when I can barely take care of myself?”
Well, the easiest way for a mother to take care of her teenager is to simply … Take care of herself.
Think of it this way … You’re on a plane with your teenager and the unthinkable happens. There is a loss of air pressure and oxygen masks drop down. Your teen isn’t able to get his mask on and then you try to help, but you panic, you’re not able to get the mask on and you start to lose oxygen and become unconscious. You and your son are blue from a lack of oxygen.
But, if you read the manual in the seat pocket, it instructs you to place a mask on your own face before attempting to help others.
Please, put your own oxygen mask on first. For a mother to be successful in parenting their teenager through divorce, I think they would do best when healthy, logical, self-aware, and able to manage their emotions.
So, how do you manage your emotions? Maybe you’re not able to at this point during the divorce. And that is OK. Keep working on yourself. Even two competent parents have challenges raising a child on their own.
It takes a community of people to raise a teenager.
An aunt, uncle, a good friend, or a mentor of some sort or, a therapist is very important. Even consider programs for teenagers your teen will find interesting where they’ll meet people they will admire and gain support. It can be a time to help your teen vent frustration and be around other supportive adults, helping them express feelings while going through a confusing time. This will take off some of the pressure for the mother.
It’s very challenging raising a teenager through a divorce but it’s important for a mother to think about the big picture.
“What is the big picture in supporting myself and my teen through this divorce?”
Ideally, having a good relationship with both parents is best for any child if possible. But, most importantly, keep in mind everyone’s well-being. The happiness of your children, yourself, and, yes, even your ex. It should be the main idea in the big picture of your new life and your teenager’s new life after divorce.