Whether your teens have been in the family since birth, adoption or when you married one of their parents, it can be a rewarding experience watching them grow into independent adults. However, a teenager's problems can also wreak havoc on your marriage. Though you cannot foresee every trouble awaiting your family, you can take action to prevent or reduce the potential negative effects teens can have on your marriage.
Marriages can become stressful if you and your spouse disagree on curfews, discipline and other matters concerning your children. Both of you should discuss your reasoning for various rules and punishments to come to an agreement, according to licensed clinical social worker Robert Taibbi, in an article on the "Psychology Today" website. Learning to compromise is also important, so letting go of some of the battles can go a long way in creating harmony in your marriage. If the teens involved are your stepchildren, ask your spouse about how you should handle discipline and under what circumstances your spouse will intervene.
Sibling rivalry can leave teenagers in a constant state of bickering, leaving you and your spouse emotionally taxed. The conflict for a parent's love can fuel a contest between teens, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics in an article on sibling rivalry on their website, healthychildren.org. The AAP piece warns that the parents involved should avoid picking sides or getting involved in the conflict, instead encouraging the teens to work it out themselves. Encouraging regular family meetings, and giving the teens advice on how they should approach their problems, may ease tension in your marriage.
Trouble with Stepchildren
Your stepchildren may enjoy challenging you, insulting you or comparing you unfavorably to their now absent-from-the-family-unit parent. Conflict between you and your stepchildren can also create conflict between you and your spouse. Enjoying your stepchild's favorite activities with her, but also leaving time for you and your spouse as a couple, can go a long way in building positive stepfamily relations, according to Taibbi. Your stepchildren may also be angry about their parents' divorce or separation, which may fade with time, the AAP advises.
Solving marriage problems that focus around teenagers is often a group effort. Seeking out marriage counseling for you and your spouse, as well as visiting a family therapist with your teens, may reduce some of the conflict in your home, according to KidsHealth. In stepfamilies, it can also be beneficial to work on building a positive relationship with your stepchild's other parent. Though rebuilding a stressed marriage can take time, the effort may lead to a happier marriage and home life for everyone involved.