The teenage years can be difficult not only for your children but also for you as a parent. Finding ways to co-parent effectively during your child’s adolescence can provide you and your former spouse with added confidence in taking on the challenges involved during this period of growth and change. Understanding the basics for co-parenting teens will help you make the most positive choices when dealing with issues as they arise.
Establish Consistent Limits
Teenagers are known for testing limits and, in some cases, for playing one parent against the other to get what they want. Establishing clear curfews, limits and restrictions in cooperation with your co-parent will help stop these issues before they become serious problems for you and your family.
Create Clear Lines of Communication
Making sure to check up with your co-parent regarding changes in your teen’s schedule, sleepovers, school events, and other activities will ensure that you know where your child is at all times. This can also prevent problems that are caused when your teenager tells your co-parent one story and you another. Always checking up on your child’s plans with your co-parent is the best way to ensure the safety and well-being of your adolescent.
Make Time for Friends
For both you and your co-parent, making sure your teenager has time to spend with his or her friends is essential to ensure the development of social skills during this critical period of your child’s life. This may involve some juggling of schedules to ensure that your child can participate in group events or planned parties. Flexibility is the key to ensure your child’s happiness and well-being after your divorce.
Manage Driving Time Wisely
Older teenagers are often occupied with learning to drive and possibly earning money towards a vehicle of their own. Becoming a driver is a big step for a teenager, which is why it is important to discuss matters with your co-parent so that everyone is on the same page. It helps to answer a few key questions such as:
- Will you or your co-parent teach your child to drive? Will you invest in professional driving lessons?
- Will you pay for insurance costs for your child? If your teenager will work to earn money for a car and for insurance costs, where will he or she work? What hours work best with your teen’s schedule and with your own requirements?
- What restrictions will you place on your teenager’s ability to borrow your car or to drive their own vehicle?
By discussing these questions with your co-parent before discussing them with your teen, you can present a united front regarding the expectations and restrictions on driving.
Expect Emotional Reactions
Hormones run high during adolescence. Your teenager is unlikely to be the exception to this rule. By making allowances for these emotional outbursts, you can create the most supportive environment for your teen during this difficult time. This can help you to navigate the teenage years with grace and stability.
By working with your co-parent to create guidelines for your teen, you can ensure the best and most practical support for your children during the adolescent years. This can also help you prepare your child for the challenges of adult life.