The holidays are supposed to be a time of cheer, fun and togetherness, but for a family going through a separation or divorce, it can be a time of sadness, frustration and loneliness. As a parent, take this holiday season to be hyper vigilant about your teen’s behaviors and emotions and be sure to take these steps to ensure your child’s positive mental health.

1. Talk to your teen.

As difficult as it may be, take the time to effectively communicate with your child to gain a better perspective into how they are feeling. Do not take this as an opportunity to give advice or impart your own wisdom (as wonderful as it may be). Instead, just use this time to let your child vent, cry, talk, and/or process. This is a difficult transition for them, no matter what time of the year, and sometimes, all a child needs is to be heard.

2. Start a new tradition.

The holidays are all about traditions and this could be the hardest change for your teen. Your teen is used to every Thanksgiving going to Grandma’s house, or each Christmas morning gathering as a family around the tree for gifts; but now that his or her parents are no longer together, all of these traditions are going to change, or go away completely. To help ease the difficulty, create new traditions with your teen (and have them be a part of coming up with some ideas). Then stick to these traditions in the years to come.

3. Give them space.

This doesn’t mean abandon them, but allow them to grieve and process at their own pace. It will take them longer to accept that their family is different now, and as long as they are coping in a healthy way, give them the space to do so.

4. Seek professional counseling.

A divorce is not only difficult for the children involved, but obviously for the parents as well. If you are going through a separation or divorce, then you are dealing with a whole transition of your own, and sometimes it’s difficult to be there for your kids and continue your own self-care. It is okay to seek help outside of yourself and the best resource to utilize is a professional counselor that is trained and equipped to help your teen during this adjustment period.

 If you are going through a family transition, and you feel your teenager may not be coping well, then call  Life Counseling Solutions (407)-622-1770 for a complimentary 15-minute consultation or to schedule an appointment.

Author: DeAnn Maccloskey