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WHAT TEENS WANT WHEN PARENTS SPLIT.

Byline: The Register-Guard

Teens on the 20Below team who have gone through divorce in their families offer a few tips for parents going through divorce:

Call up a friend, a co-worker, a relative - but please don't turn to your kids as your sudden best friends to talk about all the unpleasant details.

Don't make derogatory comments about your spouse to your children.

Let teens know they can talk to you about the divorce, but don't pressure. Too much talk, hitting the issue again and again, can be upsetting.

Support teens in their activities - participating in a sport, hobby or other activity can help divert the emotional load.

Allowing teens to spend time with an understanding best friend can be extremely helpful for them to unload and work out turbulent feelings.

The emotional and stressful experience can make anyone irritable and quick to lash out. Try to avoid letting it out on your kids, and if it slips, do apologize. Yelling puts teens instantly on the defensive and aggravates the situation. Teens will be quick to anger too, even months after the divorce, so respond to them in an understanding tone.

If at all possible, it matters for both parents to stay involved in their teenagers' lives: school, birthdays, holidays, sports, recitals, music concerts. If you are not the parent currently residing with your kids, stay in touch. Phone calls, cards and letters can mean a lot. Show your kids they are still very important to you.

CLASS OFFERS HELP FOR CHILDREN

A class for children whose parents are going through divorce will be held Saturday at the Center for Community Counseling.

The class is offered for children ages 5 to 13, with students divided into elementary- and middle-school age groups. If enough teens older than 13 express an interest in the class, a separate session will be set up for them.

The the 3 1/2 -hour class will allow children to express their thoughts, learn what other children are experiencing, hear about legal aspects of divorce, and use art therapy and writing to express their feelings. The sessions will be supervised by credentialed counselors.

For interested adults, there will be a support group for parents in transition. The cost of the class is $5 to $15. Pre-registration is required. To sign up or learn more, call 344-0620.

The Center for Community Counseling provides mental health assistance to low-income people. It is located at 1465 Coburg Road.
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Title Annotation:Family
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Mar 6, 2006
Words:407
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