It’s not uncommon for there to be struggles in a marriage. When things get stressful, it will impact everyone in your household. Figuring out when to discuss these matters with an older child is difficult, though. Below are a few times when it’s appropriate to talk to your teen about the struggles in your marriage.
When You Understand Where You Are
If you’re going to talk to your teen, you need to understand why you’re having the discussion. Don’t just tell him or her that things aren’t going well with your spouse—this is not only confusing, but can cause further problems. Instead, you need a concrete reason to have this discussion. If you can put your finger on the specific problem or problems, whether it involves finances, relationships, or other circumstances, then it’s time to tell your teen about what’s going on.
When You Can Do So Without Burdening Your Child
It’s also important to wait to tell your child until you’re ready to do so in a way that will be beneficial to him or her. Don’t tell your child when you are angry or depressed—tell your child when you can put the focus on his or her emotional needs. However, remember that not telling your teen can also put pressure on him or her, as in many cases he or she is mature enough to have already picked up on your relationship problems. Be careful of using your teen’s happiness as an excuse to avoid a difficult conversation.
When it’s Part of Your Recovery
Talking with your teen might be part of the recovery process, so make sure to involve your therapist. If you are in the middle of affair recovery counseling, for example, you might want to consult your counselor about when and how to talk to your child about the breakdown in your marriage. Talking to your child might be a part of getting your life back on track, but you have to make sure that the timing is right.
When it Impacts Your Child
Finally, it’s a good time to talk to your child about changes in your marriage if and when it’s going to impact your child’s life. If you or your spouse is moving out of the house, if divorce is on the horizon, or if your child is going to have to make a major life change, he or she deserves to know why these situations are going to occur.
You need to make sure that the discussion focuses on your child and their needs, even if the discussion itself is part of your own recovery process. Remember, problems in your marriage will impact your children so always ensure you go into these conversations with the proper mindset.
Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking, and gardening. For more information, contact Brooke via Facebook at facebook.com/brooke.chaplan or Twitter @BrookeChaplan