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You recently announced your divorce to your children, and now, your teen is irate. There’s nothing unusual about anger during and immediately following divorce, but pre-existing mental health issues or other factors may cause the problem to spiral out of control. Keep an eye out for the following:


Divorce may ultimately represent a fresh start, but for now, it means the loss of a familiar and comforting family structure. Your teen may cry frequently in the days and weeks following your announcement.


Expect to be the recipient of at least a few angry outbursts. Your teen may feel betrayed and may not hesitate to show it. Rather than react specifically to your divorce, your teen may lash out in seemingly unrelated circumstances. Simple requests to complete homework or finish household chores may result in unexpected fury. In some cases, teens direct all of their anger at the parent they deem ‘responsible’ for the divorce. Others target not only parents, but also siblings and other family members.


With a household situation seemingly too painful to bear, your teen may begin to spend more time with friends. Don’t expect household hangouts, however. Your teen may be too embarrassed to invite friends over. Maintain previous curfews, but allow your teen some space to process this ordeal surrounded by supportive friends.

Creative Outlets

Many teens seek relief via creative outlets, such as diary entries, artwork or music. Encourage creative expression, but don’t demand explanations or snoop in your teen’s journal.

When to Seek Help

Ordinary expressions of sadness or anger can quickly spiral into full-blown depression or other mental health concerns. Keep an eye out for the following symptoms, and seek medical attention if they extend beyond three weeks:

  • Drastic changes in appetite or eating behavior
  • Insomnia or sleep disturbances
  • Lack of interest in previously beloved activities
  • Withdrawing from friends or family members

Observe your teen closely during this difficult time, and note any sudden changes in behavior—including those outlined above. Seek immediate medical help if your teen threatens or attempts suicide, or exhibits other drastic behaviors.

As you deal with your teen’s response to divorce, let the law firm of Barna, Guzy & Steffen, Ltd. handle the legal complications. Call today to schedule a case consultation.