Teens Dealing With Divorced Parents: How You Can Help

When parents divorce, home life can become tumultuous, strange and extremely difficult to deal with, especially for teenagers who feel as if they have lost their sense of “family” while having to balancing the personal, social and academic aspects of their lives. Dealing with divorced parents can drastically change a teen’s mental health and social behavior.

Effects of Divorce on Teens

“Older teenagers can look back and feel like they were living a lie – that this family life they had grown up with, and perhaps never questioned, was something their parents were just waiting to break up when they went away to university.”– Angharad Rudkin, clinical psychiatrist

How divorce will effect your teen varies from individual to individual (just like pretty much everything). However, divorce is shown to cause depression, feelings of anger and disillusionment and extreme behavior amongst teens.When dealing with divorced parents, adolescents also experience a profound sense of loss, conflicts in loyalty toward one or both parents, withdrawal from the home in preference for friends and for a few, a failure to cope, characterized by regressive behaviors and early sexual activity.

Minimizing the Impact of Divorce

After a divorce, knowing how to help your teen cope with whatever they might be feeling is essential to their further development as individuals. Expect a great deal of anger and frustration from your teen; this is as hard for them as it is for you. You could get help from a professional therapist, and if your child still shows signs of extreme behavioral issues, wilderness therapy is a great option for them.
Separating your teen from one parent might deeply effect their future as an adult. Studies have demonstrated that teens typically do better with two parents in their lives. Kids with two parents are more likely to excel in school, stay out of jail, stay away from drugs and alcohol, avoid teen pregnancy, avoid depression and be employed as adults than their peers with only one parent. The loss of a parent is one of the most traumatic events a teen can suffer, and if this occurs they might act out even more.

Wilderness Therapy Can Help

If your teen is acting out in part due to a recent divorce, Trails Carolina can help. We combine the power of the wilderness experience with a residential base camp in order to teach, reinforce and practice real-life skills. We also involve the family every step of the way, offering family therapy and Family Camp and Reunification weekends.
If your teen needs help and could benefit from a therapeutic wilderness program, such as Trails Carolina, please call us today, at 800-975-7303.

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Jeremy Whitworth

As Executive Director at Trails Carolina, a leading wilderness therapy program for youth and teens, I oversee operations and collaborate with our leadership team. Since 2022, I've also hosted the Common Ground Podcast for parents: https://trailscarolina.com/common-ground-podcast/ With a background in Wilderness Leadership and Experiential Education, I've managed adventure-based therapeutic programs across the US and Canada. My experiences in competitive athletics and adventure sports have honed my leadership, risk assessment, and decision-making skills, which I apply to running a successful business like Trails Carolina.

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Trails saved my daughter’s life. Amanda is an amazing human and a brilliant therapist. I am so grateful to her, Science Steve, and the other wonderful people who could reach my daughter at a time when I could not.

Margot Lowman August 2022

Great life changing experience for our son. After becoming addicted to gaming during covid he was very depressed. At Trails he experienced the wilderness, Science Steve, learning survival skills and top notch therapy and support etc… I highly recommend! This gave our son and our family a renewed family bond full of love and excitement about his bright future.

Winnifred Wilson July 2022


Outstanding clinical work and superb staff! There’s a great culture at this company and it shows with how they engage with families/clients.

Kristin Brace June 2022


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