Divorce is challenging to the whole family system. Most of us weren't trained to navigate the devastating effects of divorce or the behaviors that led to the divorce. Everyone in the family is coping and adjusting the best they know how. For a teen, a divorce can be like being dropped into the middle of the ocean, with no land in sight, anything that looks stable is grasped. Unfortunately the things that are grasped can have devastating effects, leading the teen further and further from land. Counseling can be a lifeline, and a compass to help teens navigate back to shore after a divorce.
Friends are vital to all healthy individuals. For teens friendships account for a large percentage of their daily lives. Developing friendships are vital to how a teen sees themselves, others and the world at large. Loss of friendships can feel like a loss of identity and a loss of identity like a threat to survival.
Family relationships are the foundation for a teen to enter the world. When the family system breaks, the teen loses the stability needed to see themselves as confidant and capable.
School for a teen is the equivalent of a career for an adult. It's great when you love it and are succeeding but miserable when you feel like a failure, have to see "that person", or are drowning in baggage from outside life. Skipping school, bad grades, lack of focus and behavior choices can signal feelings of hopelessness and dread.
Finances can be a major stressor. When finances are limited and stress is high teens can interrupt this as a threat to safety. Teens have very little say and capability to change family finances. Threat + inability to change the situation = helplessness.
Identity problems effect the compass of the soul. When we don't know who we are we'll chase just about anything that validates us. Teens are in a constant refining process of identity but when identity has never been established or has been severally damaged feelings of rage, hopelessness, worthlessness and being alone are common. Through counseling teens can develop a healthy identity that includes their values and goals for life.