Raising a teenager is a tall order for any parent, but when those teens’ parents have gone through a divorce, the challenges are often amplified. If you’re attempting to co-parent with your former spouse, there may be some potential for conflict that could ultimately erode your relationship with your child.
There are steps that parents in Florida and nationally can take, though, to improve the dynamics of this joint parenting situation. It takes some work, of course, but shared child custody can still give your kids an opportunity to thrive. It routinely does for millions of kids across the country.
The best thing you can do in such circumstances is to get on the same page as the other parent. Take all the time necessary to develop a parenting plan that outlines opinions and rules regarding a variety of lifestyle circumstances that teens will soon be facing.
Some of these potential sticking points can include when the teen is allowed to get a driver’s license, and when — and how — a vehicle will be provided. This can be sometimes be a divisive issue that teens will try to manipulate to pit parents against one another and get what they want. Parents should address this issue well before the subject of cars is brought up by the teen.
Similarly, the use of smart phones, laptops and other tech devices is very important, since these devices have a significant social role among America’s teens. Parents need to have consistent rules regarding the use of these devices, regardless of which parent’s home the child is currently staying in.
Other important and sometimes divisive issues can include tattoos, piercings, the appropriate age for employment, chores, curfews, sexuality and values, and school enrollment status. Make sure these are all addressed in your parenting plan to provide the greatest consistency possible given the teen’s living situation.
Source: Huffington Post, “7 tips for co-parenting teens,” Tara Fass, Jan. 23, 2013
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