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What are some tips for recently divorced mothers of teens?


One of the most important tips is not to badmouth your ex or use your teens to report back to you about what's going on at his house, as this forces them to choose sides and they may later resent you for it. You may find the adjustment period after the divorce very challenging, financially as well as emotionally. Try not to use your teens as your confidants; you need a support network of other adults. While it might feel comforting in the short run to have them agree with you, in the long run it can damage their relationship with both their father and with you. If possible, work with your ex to set rules, consistent discipline, curfews and expectations of behavior from your teens, and check with him if your teens insist, "But Dad lets us do it!"

Try not to disrupt your teens' lives more than necessary. If you can still live in the same house with them and keep them in the same school, it will minimize stressful changes at this time. If it turns out that your husband has custody, make sure that you show up for all visitations and only cancel if it's a true emergency. Remember birthdays, holidays and other special dates that are important to your teens, such as school performances, graduations or sports games.

You may experience a dramatic financial plunge after the divorce, and if your ex doesn't seem to put alimony payments on his priority list, you may have to look into the possibility of having alimony automatically deducted from his paycheck. Although you may want to increase your work hours to make up for the shortfall, make sure that it's not at the expense of time spent with your teen. Expect a certain amount of acting out for around two years after the divorce, but after that time your teens should adjust better to the situation.


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