The Teen Retreat

Many people think that when a teens’ parents divorce it’s easier on them because they are older and can understand better. We know that that isn’t true. Many times divorce is actually harder on teens than younger children. This page is for you!

QUESTIONS TEENS ASK

You probably have a lot of questions about what is going on. We’ll tackle many of those questions here.

Questions About Divorce

What Is Child Support?

If your parents are divorced, you’ve probably heard them talking about child support, but what is it really? What is child support? What is it for? How does it work? Who is supposed to get it? The purpose of this article is to clear up any questions you might have...

What Is Custody And Visitation?

When your parents were married, they likely worked together to make decisions regarding you, and you probably all lived in the same house.  When parents’ get divorced, someone has to decide who will make decisions for the kids and where the kids will live. ...

Why Didn’t I See The Divorce of My Parents Coming?

Many kids are shocked when they find out that their parents are getting a divorce.  Some parents fight a lot, and the kids in those homes may start to suspect that their parents are going to split up.  But, if you came from a home where there wasn’t much conflict, you...

What Are Alimony and Child Support?

When parents get divorced, there are many things that have to be divided between them.  Things like family pictures, checking accounts, vehicles and much more is divided.  Sometimes parents agree how to split these items up, and other times a judge tells people who...

My Parents Got A Divorce; Do I Still Have A Family?

When parents get a divorce, there are a ton of changes that happen.  Sometimes one parent moves out and you visit them occasionally.  Sometimes both parents may need to move.  Sometimes you continue to see both of your parents regularly.  Sometimes...

What Is A Divorce?

Sometimes when parents talk to kids about things like divorce, they forget that you might not know what a divorce even is.  Or, you might think you know what divorce is all about, but not really understand what it means when your parents get divorced.  That’s ok, but...

Questions About Emotions

What Do I Do When I’m So Angry I Could Scream?

Breathing, physical activity and talking about it are great ways to help deal with anger or stress. That said, sometimes when anger or stress builds up inside, you just want to scream. Handled correctly, this can be a therapeutic way to vent some of that frustration...

How Do I Forgive My Parents For What They Have Done?

In an earlier article, we looked at why it is so important to forgive people who have hurt us: Should I Forgive My Parents for What They Have Done? In this article, we will look at some specific things to keep in mind and steps you can take to forgive even when it’s...

Should I Forgive My Parents For What They Have Done?

When your parents split up, it’s easy to blame them and be angry about it. After all, they (or at least one of them) didn’t ask you what you wanted. Chances are you have been angry about that at some point. You might have talked to someone who suggested that you need...

Resource: Emotion Wheels

Emotion wheels can be great tools for helping you to figure out what your feeling, introduce you to new emotions and help you to figure out what emotions might be underlying why you’re feeling. This first wheel was created by Dr. Gloria Wilcox who is a licensed...

Was My Parents’ Divorce My Fault?

If you are wondering if your parents’ divorce or separation is your fault, you are not alone.  Most children of divorce at some point believe that their parents’ split up had something to do with them.  Maybe you think if you had behaved better they would still be...

How Can I Deal With All This Anger?

Anger is a very common reaction in children whose parents have separated or divorced.  When you do not deal with your anger, it can become very destructive, and when you let it out in the wrong way, you can hurt yourself or someone else or find yourself in trouble. ...

What is Grief?

Grief is a process that people go through when they suffer a loss.  It is a journey through understanding and dealing with what has happened.  The goal of the grieving process is to reach acceptance of the loss that will allow you to move on with life. ...

How Can I Use the GAP Method to Help With Feelings of Fear?

When your parents get divorced, there are plenty of things that can make you feel anxious or afraid.  Here are some of things that children of divorce have told us they were afraid of or anxious about: Moving to a new house or neighborhood Changing schools No longer...

Is It OK To Be Happy About My Parents’ Divorce?

Divorce brings with it all kinds of different emotions.  If your parents are divorced, you already know that.  Sometimes you will be sad, sometimes angry, sometimes lonely, and sometimes many other different emotions.  But, is it ok to be happy?  Shouldn’t you be...

Questions About Life

Where Can I Find People to Talk To Who Know What I’m Going Through?

There are thousands of kids whose parents get divorced every week. Add to that the number of kids whose parents split up even though they were never married, and you wouldn’t think it would be too hard to find people who are dealing with similar experiences. Despite all that, many times when our parents split up we feel like the only one in the world going through it. It seems like there is no where to turn and no one to talk to.

That’s one of the reasons we created I Am A Child of Divorce – so kids and teens whose parents are split up would have a place they could go to find information and other people who have at least some idea what you are going through. To do that, we’ve created all kinds of ways for you to connect and to begin to heal from your parents’ split. We want to bring some of those ways to your attention. Some are new resources, some have been totally redone to meet your needs better, and some have been around from day one. Regardless, here are a few ways you can connect with others and get help as you deal with the fall out from your parents’ split:

It’s Hard to Focus on School Since the Divorce. What Should I Do?

Many children report that they just can’t concentrate on school, or just don’t care, since they found out that their parents are getting a divorce.  Many see a decrease in their grades and test scores, and some take years to “catch back up” if they ever do. If you...

What Should I Do If I Am Thinking About Suicide?

If your parents are separated or divorced, there is no doubt that you have experienced times of sadness. If left unchecked, that sadness can easily grow into depression, and depression which is not dealt with can sometimes lead people to think about, plan or even...

Is There Anything Good About Divorce?

Yikes. What a tough question! Divorce is tough, and divorce hurts. There is no doubt about that. Perhaps your parents are in the process of finalizing their split or maybe they’ve already been separated for years. Either way, it is a healthy exercise to look for the...

What Do I Do When I Don’t Have Anyone To Turn To?

Divorce is hard.  When your parents split up (either by divorce or moving out or whatever your circumstance might be) you will face all kinds of challenges and new and intense emotions.  The worse thing you can do is try to deal with it all yourself. ...

How Can I Make Living In Two Homes Easier?

Let’s face it, if you live part-time at both your mom’s house and your dad’s house, it can be hard on you.  Even apart from the emotional baggage that goes along with living in two different homes (and maybe with two different families), there is the practical and...

Am I The Only One Going Through This?

Divorce is hard, and as a child divorce you may wonder if anyone else understands what you are going through.  Well, the answer is yes…and….no!  Unfortunately, lots of kids each year experience the divorce of their parents.  In fact, since 1972 roughly...

Will Things Ever Be “Normal” Again?

Divorce brings all kinds of changes into your life.  Some changes are obvious.  You no longer live in the same house with both your mom and your dad.  Maybe you spend most of your time at one parents’ house and visit the other parents’ house every other weekend, or...

Questions About Parents

How Do I Forgive My Parents For What They Have Done?

In an earlier article, we looked at why it is so important to forgive people who have hurt us: Should I Forgive My Parents for What They Have Done? In this article, we will look at some specific things to keep in mind and steps you can take to forgive even when it’s...

Should I Forgive My Parents For What They Have Done?

When your parents split up, it’s easy to blame them and be angry about it. After all, they (or at least one of them) didn’t ask you what you wanted. Chances are you have been angry about that at some point. You might have talked to someone who suggested that you need...

What Do I Do if My Parent Is Still With the Person Who Caused the Split?

One of the questions that comes up more than any other after parents separate is, what do I do if I don’t like the person my parent is dating? You can find some ideas herehere and here if you find yourself in that situation.

But, what if that person your Mom or Dad is still with is the person that caused the break up of your parents in the first place. Maybe the guy your Mom is with is the guy she cheated on your Dad with. Maybe your Dad’s new girlfriend is the woman he left your mom for in the first place. Maybe both of your parents are dating (or remarried to) the person they left your other parent for. How do you deal with that?

Let’s start by acknowledging the pain and the hurt that this situation causes. When your parents split up, it hurts! When you’re left to pick up the pieces and trying to figure out how to move on with life, it causes pain, confusion, stress and so much more. The loss of your family (as you knew it) hurts, and it is a loss that must be grieved.

My Parents Won’t Talk To Each Other! What Can I Do?

Divorce is hard, and many times when parents get divorced the last thing they want to do is talk to the other spouse. When there are kids involved though, that isn't an option. Even so, sometimes the anger and the hurt and the emotions are so overwhelming that even...

What Can I Do If I Don’t Like My Stepparent?

When it comes to step and blended families, this question gets asked a lot.  It is difficult living in the same house as someone you don’t really like. In order to answer this question though, we need to think about WHY you don’t like your stepparent. In my...

What Can I Do If My Parent Wants Nothing to Do With Me?

When people get divorced, relationships suffer.  Obviously, you parents’ relationship is different, but it can also hurt your relationship with one or both parents.  In some extreme circumstances, a parent may decide they don’t really want anything to do with you...

Questions About Spiritual Stuff

Where Was God When My Parents Got Divorced?

That is a fair question, and if you’ve gone to church and/or believe in God you may very well have asked yourself that question since your parents separated or got divorced.  Where was God?  Why didn’t He stop the divorce?  Why didn’t He answer my prayers?  Maybe you...

What About God?

If your parents are separated or divorced, you may have a lot of spiritual questions about God and faith and the church.  Many times when parents get divorced, kids begin to wonder about why they even exist and sometimes that leads to tough questions about God and...

RESOURCES FOR TEENS

My Family’s Changing Activity Book for Teens

Background

This activity book was developed and published by Cafcass (Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service) in England. “Every year Cafcass helps over 140,000 children and young people who are going through care or adoption proceedings, or whose parents have separated and are unable to agree about future arrangements for their children. Cafcass is the voice of children in the family courts and helps to ensure that children’s welfare is put first during proceedings.”

How It Works

This pdf activity book is colorfully illustrated and offers older kids and teens activities to complete in addition to answering questions they might have about their parents’ divorce. This pamphlet offers very basic information to educate and help older kids and teens dealing with these difficult circumstances.

Who is It For?

This book is specifically designed for older children and teens.

CHaT First Board Game for Children of Divorce

CHaT First is a website from the Children and Families in Transition Project a partnership between the Centre for Peace, Conflict and Mediation, Hawke research Institute, University of South Australia and Centacare Catholic Family Services (SA), with generous support from the Telstra Foundation.  It is full of information for children and teens whose parents have separated or divorced. One of the best resources is a printable board game called the CHaT First Board game.

How It Works

The CHaT First Board Game is a question and answer board game that encourages kids and teens to answer questions from one of four decks of cards. Players take turns rolling the dice and moving along the board. This game is not about winners and losers but about the experience shared together.

Who is It For?

This is for all children who have experienced, or are experiencing, their parents divorce. It will also benefit parents and other adults who want to help those kids.

Resource: Emotion Wheels

Emotion wheels can be great tools for helping you to figure out what your feeling, introduce you to new emotions and help you to figure out what emotions might be underlying why you’re feeling. This first wheel was created by Dr. Gloria Wilcox who is a licensed...

Teen Between: Support For Teenagers of Separated Parents

Teen Between is a resource out of Ireland designed to help teens from divorcing families and to help parents and schools to help teens through the divorce process.  Teen Between offers in person counseling services all around the country of Ireland.  They also have an...

Help Us Promote Our Online Support Group for Teens

Registration for our pilot online teen support group ends April 30th, and we are asking for your help to promote that program.  We have created a flier promoting the upcoming group.  We invite you to print out copies of the flier and hang them at your local community...

Families Change – Teen Guide to Separation and Divorce

This site is from the Justice Education Society in British Columbia. It is a guide for teens to parental separation and divorce. Written on a teen level it deals with what is happening, changes, emotions, strategies, the law, and frequently asked questions. The...

What Is It Like When Your Parents Get Divorced?

This article from SafeTeen.org helps teens to understand how they might feel following the divorce of their parents and things they can do to help.  Although brief, this article provides a good overview and some sound suggestions.  The article explains: Your parents...

The Anger-ometer (Tracking Your Anger In Order to Deal With It)

If your parents are separated or divorced, there is a good chance you will experience anger at some point in the process.  There is nothing wrong with being angry.  How we choose to deal with that anger is important.  If we keep it all bottled up inside, we will...

Teen Online Support Group Video

We made the following video to announce the launch of our I Am A Child of Divorce Teen Support Groups, and we are excited to share it with you! For more information on our groups, and to register for our upcoming April 2013 group, please visit...

ADDITIONAL READING FOR TEENS

Helping Parents and Teens Adjust to Divorce

The teen years can be a particularly hard time for children to experience the divorce of their parents.  This article from Risa Garcon explains why and offers some practical advice to both parents and teens....

Divorce Is Hard for Everyone – Especially Teens

Resisting change is a natural part of being human. For teenagers that resistance is compounded by a tendency to test boundaries and rock the status quo. Divorce or separation naturally makes all children feel powerless over their circumstances. For teens, who are...