While I was trying desperately to put my life back together after the divorce, my son was fighting his own internal battle. What you think is an angry teenager may very well just be frustration from the divorce. It took me a minute to come to this conclusion when my oldest started acting very aggressively. As a mother of black sons, I knew I had to find a way to course-correct him so that he would not have to deal with worse things later as a result of his broken heart.
He began to sulk and withdraw from social interactions so he would not have to talk about the changes in our family dynamic. I found out as his verbal and physical aggression escalated that he just didn’t know what to say when people asked about the divorce. There are 3 things I discovered that helped my children navigate the hurdles of life after divorce.
1. Extend them grace!
Our children are bombarded daily with numerous activities. They go to school, participate in extracurricular activities, spend time with friends and family, and engage in social media interests. With all that on top of changes in the family dynamic, they need grace so they can develop into the amazing beings they were born to be. To help them express themselves, I created family meetings where they could share how they felt. Just like we need a safe place to express our hurt and pain, so do our teenagers.
2. Nourish them!
You are still their first teacher and provider. Provide them with the tools they need to navigate the emotional warfare they may find themselves in. I'm grateful that my grandmother took the time to nourish me. I am still feeding off of some of the lessons she gave me. I used the family meetings to give them words they could use when they were asked what happened. If you have little ones, like my 7-year-old at the time (yes, he was asked as well), empower them to say, “ask my mom, or dad.” This frees them up from feeling like they need answers to the adult chaos they were thrown into.
3. They will be your reflection in the world!
You are the book that many of them are reading. You are the TV show that they are watching. You are the one they will reflect when they walk out into the world. Some of us have a “mini-me.” My mini-me reflected pieces of my bad behavior and shared moments in my life I wish nobody knew. Emotions are illogical. Even if you are normally the person that can develop a plan or process and keep a level head, your mind will abandon you and your heart will take over. Your children are watching how you handle the chaos of your divorce, so be mindful.
I share more insight in the following episode of Red Alert Diaries. https://youtu.be/1bTv_ztBg10
I pray it supports you through this moment, but if you feel you need someone to talk to right now for an immediate strategy, click under the contact me tab and schedule time with me.