I saw the problems that I went through with my parents' divorce, and it really affected me....
Teens + Divorce = Help?
Here's What You Need To Do For Your Teens
By KRYSTLE RUSSIN
Inspired by his own experience and the experience of his friends, Bill Sears, a 16-year old in Marietta, Ga., decided to create his own Web site to help kids deal with divorce. He created BillsArena.com
in April 2006, which he touts as the "the Internet’s first divorce support site for kids, by a kid."
"A lot of people are really shocked that a 16-year old kid would put up something like that," said Sears, who thinks that teens connect more with the Web site because it is written by a teen.
"I saw the problems that I went through with my parents' divorce, and it really affected me and hurt me a lot, and I really saw a lot of other kids at school who were just having a hard time," he said. "I said, 'I think I'll stick some of my advice up there and help them get through this abomination called divorce.'"
He thinks kids and parents enjoy his Web site is because it approaches divorce from a different perspective. "I take a very sarcastic approach on it, actually, and it's very in your face. I'm not going around it. I'll just say how it is, and deal with it," said Sears. "I get a lot of 'thank yous' for putting this up."
According to a brochure from the Center for Young Women's Health, divorce can cause a number of feelings for teens -- from shock, surprise, anxiety, anger, sadness, fear, guilt, relief, worry and a "feeling of loss....All of these feelings are a normal part of coping with all of the changes in your family life..."
According to Sister Mary Carole Curran, a psychologist and execustive director of Catholic Family Services in Sioux Falls, S.D., divorce is harder on the children than the parents. There are many questions, particularly as the former spouses move on and begin dating or remarrying. Curran said her job is to help youngsters cope with those changes.
For instance, when a parent begins dating, sometimes the new significant other tries too hard to befriend the child. Or if a parent remarries, the new spouse takes over parenting when the parent is to weak, which is a mistake. "The new spouse should know that he or she does not ever replace the children's biological parent..." Curran said.
"They [the step-parent] should stand behind the rules that the parent makes," Curran said. "The parent makes and enforces the rules, in the only case of which they're alone and, like a baby-sitter, they have authority. Too often, the step-parent steps in, and especially if the natural parent is weak in parenting, they're going to come in and fix all the mistakes the natural parent made, and that's the quickest way they're going to get rejected."