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Helping Teens Cope with Divorce & Adapt to Blended Families with Barbara Rothberg

Divorce is never easy on the kids involved, but the process can be particularly fraught for teenagers. How does divorce impact teens differently than younger children? What is the best way to customize a parenting plan for teens? And how can you support teens in adapting to a new, blended family?

Barbara Rothberg, DSW, LCSW, has 35-plus years of experience helping clients resolve conflicts and navigate transitions in their lives. In her role as a divorce coach and child specialist, Barbara helps families customize solutions that emphasize the best interest of the child. She often serves as a mediator or family specialist in the collaborative divorce setting, and Barbara’s work as a parent coordinator allows her to support separated parents in becoming good co-parents to their children.

Today, Barbara joins Katherine to explain how divorce impacts a teen’s growing autonomy and offers insight around designing a parenting plan for older children. She describes how teens think about blended families, discussing why it’s important to give them the freedom not to like a parent’s new partner—as long as they’re respectful. Listen in for Barbara’s advice on being up front with your teens and learn why she advocates for making your child a priority, regardless of their age when you divorce.


How divorce impacts a teen’s growing autonomy

Barbara’s definition of what it means to be a teen

Why Barbara cautions against hiding divorce from kids

The best way to tell your kids you are divorcing

  1. Share with all children at same time
  2. Don’t give false reassurances

Why Barbara suggests week-long timesharing for teens

The value in giving teens input on the parenting plan

How to handle teens who don’t want to see a parent

Creating a parenting plan based on the family’s needs

How incremental engaging helps teens adapt to stepparents

Giving teens the freedom not to like a stepparent

Barbara’s insight on spending alone-time with your teen

How to approach a blended family with stepsiblings

Barbara’s advice for divorcing parents with teens

  • Don’t get in power struggle
  • Do things slowly
  • Make children priority


Barbara’s Website


The Center for Understanding Conflict

Miller Law Group

Katherine on LinkedIn

The New Yorker’s Guide to Collaborative Divorce by Katherine Miller

Email katherine@westchesterfamilylaw.com

Call (914) 738-7765