Toronto divorce lawyers know that ending a marriage is never easy for the adults or the children involved. Each child experiences the divorce of his/her parents differently, and the unavoidable consequences will vary with the child’s age. The pre-adolescent and adolescent phase of childhood is particularly difficult. Children at this stage experience emotional, mental, physical and sexual development. Child psychology theorist, Erik Erikson, characterizes this stage as one where teens begin to answer the question “Who am I?”

Expectedly, during this formative age, your teen may likely internalize any sudden or dramatic changes, such as a divorce. A Toronto divorce lawyer will encourage parents to have healthy and positive conversations with their teen to help mitigate misunderstandings and to soothe what he/she might be internalizing. During adolescence, teens are developing a sense of self-consciousness and self-certainty. All of the experiences he/she is exposed to will be folded into his/her budding and absorptive sense of self.

Given the fragile nature of your teen’s sense of self, his/her mental health is of concern. Like the body, the brain needs to be nourished and nurtured. Likewise, sometimes one’s mind might become unwell and require medicine or treatment, in much the same way one would treat a cold or infection. Mental illness is a serious issue, especially for teens. Unfortunately, unlike a cold or infection, mental illness is less visible and harder to predict. However, it is possible to treat with the appropriate team of mental health professionals.

A traumatic event, such as a divorce, may trigger a detrimental response in your teen. While it is normal to feel sad, distressed or disappointed in the aftermath of divorce, parents must be acutely aware of when these dark feelings become unhealthy and uncontrolled. A common rule of thumb is that if one notices a significant negative change wherein these dark feelings persist for more than two weeks, it is time to seek help. In this four-part series you will learn how to and how not to talk to your teen about mental health, and how to take action. A Toronto divorce lawyer can guide you to the appropriate age-specific resources.

Talking to Teens about Divorce – Part 2: The Do’s and Don’ts of Discussion
Talking to Teens about Divorce – Part 3: The Do’s of Discussion
Talking to Teens about Divorce – Part 4: The Don’ts of Discussion