When teenagers need support to manage testing times

Whatever the weather forecast over the next month the heat is definitely on for the nation’s teenagers during the exam season. There is no shortage of advice for parents on recognising the signs that your teen is under extra pressure, what you can do if stress levels threaten to overwhelm them and even some helpful new ways to help the growing mind and body cope.

Academic tests, grades and public examinations are great levellers and most young people take these rites of passage in their stride when support and understanding is provided.

When emotions are running high because mum and dad are in conflict – as sometimes happens in separation and divorce – the teenage voice can often be drowned. The recent example of the fractured relationship between Chris Huhne and his youngest son illustrates the impact on all parties when the hurt and anger a young adult felt towards his father was unleashed for public consumption.

A parental split is a life changing event for everyone concerned but it need not be an emotionally damaging one for teenagers and young adults. Family lawyers adopting a holistic approach will recognise when extra help and support would help a teenager to manage their feelings during a parental break up.

Putting the needs of children first can involve working collaboratively with counsellors, social workers and other family professionals to help the couple manage their differences in a non-confrontational way so that teens can maintain a positive relationship with both parents.

Appearances can be deceptive – teenagers may look like the young adults they are but they will feel powerless when everything they have ever known and trusted in their home life appears to be in flux.

Here are some tips to help your teenager through this difficult time.

  • Keep a lid on your disagreements with each other – your teenager needs a loving relationship with both parents after a split so don’t invite them to take sides.
  • Understand that your teenager may feel anger, hurt and guilt – children often believe they are the cause of a break up and may need extra reassurance.
  • Give them the space, the time and a listening ear to express their feelings – some may find it easier to talk to extended family members, friends or professionals.
  • Don’t make them your new best friend – they are and always will be your children, no matter how old they are.
  • Keeping your divorce as amicable as possible provides a role model for your child and will help them adjust and manage the new situation.
  • Don’t stop being a caring parent – your teenager needs to know that in all the emotional upheaval, they still matter to both mum and dad.

Do you have any other tips to help children during their exam times? Leave your comment below, tweet us @HelpWithDivorce or send us an e-mail.

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