You and your ex are dedicated to co-parenting your kids after divorce. This can be hard at first but usually gets better as time goes on. But what you might not have anticipated is the hurdles that come with co-parenting a teenager.
Sharing custody of your teenager is a lot different than co-parenting a younger child. Teenagers are trying to navigate the complicated path to adulthood while you are just trying your best to raise a great kid. Here is how you and your child’s other parent can work together to create a strong co-parenting relationship that supports him or her through these years.
Your teen is older now, and he or she probably has a lot more responsibility than before. However, even if he or she is embracing that responsibility and acting more mature, you cannot necessarily count on your teen to share important information. After all, teenagers are not exactly known for being open about their feelings.
Instead, make sure that you and your ex are still talking. Your teen might share something with you that your ex needs to know, or maybe your ex knows about something important that happened at school. You cannot be on the same co-parenting page if you are working with different information, so make sure you maintain clear lines of communication.
Be flexible but consistent
High school is a different world than elementary or even middle school. Your teenager probably has more homework than before and may be involved in afterschool activities. Add in friends, part time jobs and family, and pretty soon, his or her schedule looks a lot more complicated than before.
This is where you and your ex should practice flexibility when it comes to the parenting schedule. For example, you could swap nights or pickups to minimize time or distance constraints on your teen’s activities. You should still be sure to provide consistent rules and expectations across both households, though.
You can do this
Parenting is never easier, but tackling the teenage years is a unique challenge. Add in sharing parenting duties with an ex-spouse and what might have once been hard could soon just feel impossible. It does not have to be this way.
You and your ex can create an effective child custody agreement that focuses on your child’s well-being. Having clear expectations in an agreement is very helpful when it comes to co-parenting a teenager. It can take time to develop the skills to do this though, and some people struggle to do so on their own. So whether you feel totally capable or completely lost, you should be sure to speak with an experienced attorney who has plenty of experience in Alabama family law.