Concept Building: Teenager’s Bill of Rights

You want to ask a teenager about divorce?  Good luck with that!

#1. Teenagers really do not need to know which parent did what to cause the divorce.

#2.  Teenagers are not going to like the idea of having Mom or Dad be their best friend.

#3.  Teenagers are not going to want to be asked to play detective, messenger or spy.

#4.  For the most part, teenagers want to be left alone, they have enough to worry about.

That’s a lot of statements ending in “no.”  The question is, how do you help your teenager?  Lets think teenager first, parents second. So Mr. and Ms. Teenager here’s food for thought, lets not make a bad situation worse.

  1.  Have direction – where do I want my life to go?  How is this divorce going to effect me?
  2.  Establish boundaries: Teenagers know all about the bill of rights, they learned about the concept in social studies/history class.  The first right might be the right to be left alone.  The second may be that I don’t want to be asked where I want to live.  Teenagers might simply want to say that “Your Problems are not my problems”  you are the parents – figure it out.
  3. Get a response:  Get mom and dad to respond, accept and “ratify” your bill of rights.  Understand that the parents are not going to agree to every condition that you want. Talk through the important points – make sure they are included in your rights as a teenager.
  4. Start a Journal
  5. Get involved in activities/groups, you might even get a job.
  6. Support Groups  – Church – have time to express yourself and share your story.

Message to teenagers:  You need to act, because taking action will save you, guaranteed.  Action requires two things:  1.  Doing something JUST FOR YOU, 2.  Take POSITIVE steps to express yourself, either through a journal OR in a group.

If you were in a plane that was about to go down, what would you do?  Would you use all your energies to complain and be disappointed OR would you look for a parachute that would save you.  Action means making choices and choices, well they define who you are.

Message to parents:  Stop fighting over your teenager, give them space and flexibility.  Think long term relation over short term power plays.  If you want to fight understand a few things:  1. Teenagers will get lost, teenagers will play one parent against the other.  2.Fighting with your ex over your teenager will mean that they will lose a period of time in their life that is so special to them, one that they’ll never get back.

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