Teens of Divorce

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Divorce is never easy on the children, no matter how old they are. Children and teens of divorce do not always have problems, nor are the problems they do have necessarily a result of their parents’ decisions. But divorced families do face many challenges. Almost half of U.S. marriages end in divorce, so there are millions of youth growing up in these circumstances.

Divorce signifies the end of the family unit as it was, so grief over the loss is expected. For teens, the loss can be very destabilizing and create emotional responses. Strong feelings of insecurity, anxiety, sadness, guilt, embarrassment and anger are normal but can easily overwhelm a young person.

Risks And Protective Factors

Some children develop resilience as a result of overcoming the adversity, while others get caught in a downward spiral of despair. Many known factors contribute to how children adjust to the adversity of divorce. Certain factors increase risk for problems, while others serve as a form of protection.

Some factors have to do with the child, such as temperament, cognitive level and coping skills. Others relate to the family environment, such as parenting style, sibling relationships and socioeconomic status. Still others pertain to the child’s external environment, such as school, friends and community. Generally speaking, the more children are able to externalize their emotions in a positive manner, the better they do.

When To Find Help For A Struggling Teen

Confusion from the situation and bombardment of feelings may lead to erratic behavior, as teens strive to restore a sense of belonging. Teens who withdraw from family during or after divorce are at greater risk for developing mood disorders, drug or alcohol use, and behavioral problems. When behavioral problems arise, loved ones may feel helpless and worried. Professional intervention can help restore positive thoughts and behaviors and prevent things from getting worse.

When a teen appears to struggle, it may be time to seek help. Behavioral problems can permanently affect future academic and vocational plans. In addition, untreated behavior problems can be deadly, due to the increased risk of accidents, suicide, overdose and death. Symptoms may be subtle or obvious, but professional help is most likely needed when:

  • The teen is non-communicative and withdrawn
  • The teen loses interest in usual activities
  • The teen refuses to visit or speak to parent(s)
  • The teen’s appetite or weight decreases or increases, unrelated to normal growth
  • The teen’s personal hygiene suffers
  • There is any evidence of drug or alcohol use
  • The teen demonstrates violent behavior
  • The teen has problems at school
  • The teen has run-ins with law enforcement

Teens and their families who do complete treatment often report that the whole experience brought them closer than before, and they are better able to handle difficulties as they arise. A broken marriage does not necessarily mean a broken family. Sometimes, teens simply need some help getting through the tough times to heal and emerge resilient. Compassionate and effective treatment is available, so there is no reason to go on struggling.

Treatment For Teens Of Divorce

When treatment becomes necessary, Sovereign Health is a top choice. Our beautiful Rancho San Diego facility is accredited by The Joint Commission and offers world-class care for teens with behavioral problems, mental illness, substance use, eating disorders, co-occurring and other conditions. We understand the issues that teens of divorce face specifically, so we design treatment plans that maximize protective factors and reduce risk factors.

Sovereign Health provides age-appropriate, developmentally sensitive treatment using evidence-based modalities. Treatment consists of  individual, group and family psychotherapy; cognitive-behavioral therapy; cognitive remediation; lifestyle development; process groups; relapse prevention and more. Neurofeedback is offered as an adjunct therapy when indicated.

Experiential therapy provides teens an opportunity to learn new skills and discover healthy ways to express themselves. Experiential therapy at Sovereign Health of Rancho San Diego includes equine therapy, expressive arts, yoga and more. Recreational therapy includes indoor and outdoor activities as well as off-site facilitated adventures.

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On-site Education Means Kids Don’t Miss A Beat

Parents need not worry about their teen’s education during treatment at Sovereign Health. We offer EDGE, a small classroom with state-of-the-art technology, instructors and tutors. Each student has a minimum of 7.5 hours per week to work on academics.

Sovereign Health of Rancho San Diego has also teamed up with Advantages School International to offer course credits via online or face-to-face curricula. Standardized testing preparation is also offered.

About Sovereign Health

Sovereign Health of Rancho San Diego is a leader in the treatment of adolescents with behavioral health disorders, mental illness, substance abuse and dual diagnosis. Using evidence-based practices, our professional staff works to meet the therapeutic needs of our young patients and their families. To learn more about our programs or any of our specialized services, please call our 24/7 helpline.

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Sovereign Health offers comprehensive and high-quality treatment programming for substance abuse and mental health. Call our 24/7 helpline at any time to reach our admissions team.

What Are Our Past Patients Saying?

"There was more than just therapy. There were life skills that were taught and everyone here cared genuinely." - Jack