Month: September 2013

Effects of Divorce on Adolescents

Dr. Grace Graham, psychologist, treats patients of all ages at her private practice in Plano, Texas. Dedicated to the well-being of children and youth, Dr. Grace Graham also performs consultations for the family court system and advocates for the best interests of minors.

Although the effect of divorce on young children has received a great deal of attention in the media and in psychology for years, experts are now saying that the impact on teens can be just as profound, if not more. The stability of the home and family plays a key role in adolescence, when young people are beginning to venture forth into the world. Although adolescents resemble adults in physical ways, they are still trying to solidify their sense of identities and learning how to navigate adult relationships.

For this reason, the dissolution of a parental marriage can significantly add to their levels of personal stress and confusion. As they begin to form exclusive, romantic relationships, teens look to their parents for examples. When the stable partnership that they have known all their lives breaks down, they often question the meaningfulness of commitments in their relationship or display other maladaptive behaviors in their own relationships. They might start distancing themselves from their peers to avoid hurt or pulling themselves too close, especially towards members of the opposite sex. And because divorce often causes teens to distance themselves from the family and act independently at an earlier age, they may lack the secure base from which to modify these behaviors.