Tag Archives: Divorce

Divorce & Teenagers

Divorce leads to a complex and complicated family dynamic. Parents debate whether or not to medicate their adolescent child when he or she starts to show symptoms during a divorce. 

The teenage brain won’t reach maturity until age 25, so figuring out all the symptoms during the divorce can be tricky. Your adolescent may be moody or try to test limits but during a divorce there are added pressures he has to deal with.  He may be worrying about the future or parents may be battling, all occuring while he is upset over the splitting of his family.

How do you differentiate between an upset teen and a teen that may need treatment or medication?

First, does your child’s behavior precede the divorce? Some kids are naturally anxious or inattentive. If the child is already in treatment, stressors such as a divorce can worsen the already existing problem. Your child may benefit from counseling, where they can express concerns and learn coping tools. It’s possible that you and your ex are contributing to the child’s symptoms, so the therapist may help you contain your differences to situation when the child is not present. This could help lighten up symptoms in your child.

You should take concern if your child stays in bed a lot, or goes for a long period without showering or changing clothes. Can she not fall asleep or finish homework due to excess anxiety? In these types of situations, you could be facing something bigger than teenage hormones. It is also beneficial to inquire about the mental health history of your and the ex’s family, as mood and anxiety disorders can be genetic.

Psychological problems are also defined by how the problem impacts basic functioning. If you notice that your son is acting depressed, but he’s far from suicidal; he does well in school, he has good friends and an active social life, and he generally gives off an attitude of contentment, you are most likely dealing with normal teenage angst. If, on the other hand, your son protests constantly that he’s “fine”, but you clearly witness that he’s having trouble getting out of bed in the morning, his friends are no longer calling, and he’s lost interest in what used to give him pleasure, this may be an actual depression.

If one or both partners didn’t get clobbered by the experience of divorce, any children involved often feel deep emotional sadness and loss. Sometimes this sadness can impact people for years or even decades.
Children whose parents divorce have higher rates of psychological problems and other mental illnesses. 

If you are concerned about the effect your divorce is having on your child or teenager, starting treatment for them at Apex is the best solution.

The Recession & Divorce

The CEO of Christie’s, the famed art auction house, Edward Dolman recently stated that their  market had been driven by the 3 D’s: “Divorce, debt, and death. No matter what the state of the market, divorce happens, people die, and debt has to be paid.”

Minus the death variable from the equation, what happens when two married people multiply their debt and add divorce? 

Nobel Peace Prize winner and University of Chicago Business School economist Gary Becker said, “Recession has always been a factor for raising divorce rates.”  Couples who experience any significant or sudden change in income, whether it’s positive or negative, are at risk for divorce.

Finances are an argument starter for many couples; loss of finances leads to stress and stress leads to depression.  Depression leads to mood changes, and the non-depressed partner may initiate the separation because they are no longer connecting with their depressed partner who they may not realize is depressed.

Typical assets divided during a divorce are not worth what they used to be. The housing market is in a slump and as a result some middle-aged people have moved back into their parents house. Some couples in the midst of a separation are still  living in the same house because neither can afford to move out.

The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers showed that 57% of lawyers nationwide had seen a drop in divorce rates, as published in November 2009.  The decline in the divorce rate is influenced by couples who can’t afford to get divorced or pay for the appropriate attorney fees. “Waiting out the recession” can result in increased emotional turmoil for two people that want to get out but are stuck living under the same roof.

One way to effectively manage and decrease stress is to start marital therapy. Marriage counseling, provided at Apex Behavioral Health, will help two people communicate with each other regardless of seemingly huge differences. Having an unbiased third party present helps the couple communicate and better understand each other’s point of view, which is especially beneficial for parents.

Marriage counselors can teach you how to resolve conflict in a healthy way. You will learn how to really listen to your spouse and understand what he or she is saying (or not saying). After some issues are resolved, some couples may find that their marriage is worth saving.

You’ll learn to work through unresolved conflicts in the presence of a professional. After getting your feelings out, you may find your spouse to be more understanding than you originally thought.

Even if you feel it is too late to seek marriage counseling, the only way to know for sure is to seek help. You might end up surprised! Please call Apex if you are interested in starting marriage counseling.