Nothing can quite prepare you for the transition of your child from a snuggly baby to a rambunctious youngster to an independent teenager. But like all parents in Maryland, you do the very best that you can. Things get a little more complicated during divorce though, especially if you and your ex-spouse are planning on co-parenting.
Since co-parenting involves spending roughly equal amounts of time with your teen, you and your ex will not be able to just stop talking to one another. You may even need to be prepared to cooperate more than you ever did during marriage. Here are a few ways you can make sure your co-parenting adventure is a good one.
Most people do not get divorced with the intention of keeping in close, regular contact with their ex-spouse. Things are a little different for parents though. Co-parents usually expect to keep communicating about their kids. However, the very nature of teenagehood can trick parents into communicating with one another less and less.
The teenage years are the path to adulthood, when kids start taking on more and more responsibility of their own. This sometimes gives parents the impression that their teen is more mature than he or she actually is. Believing that their mature, responsible teen will share relevant information when necessary, they may stop talking with one another. If you do this, you could be left out of the loop about important information and behaviors.
Be consistent (but flexible)
Your teen might be heading faster and faster toward adulthood, but he or she is still a kid. Kids need consistent expectations, guidance and home lives. Teens who have this type of consistency in their lives are less likely to experiment with unsafe and risky behaviors.
Consistency cannot come at the cost of flexibility, though. With school, extracurricular activities, friends and maybe a part time job, your teen is juggling more than ever before. His or her ability to successfully balance all of these demands will often rest on your and your ex’s willingness to be flexible with the parenting schedule.
Your child still needs you
The teenage years are hard and confusing, and your child might need you now more than ever. This is not the time to drop the ball on co-parenting. Whether you have been divorced for some time or are only just now starting the process, you can still make parenting through the teenage years as straightforward as possible.
You already know that there are a hundred little details to deal with during divorce. Still, creating a child custody agreement is probably one of your highest priorities throughout this process. If so, seeking guidance from an attorney who understands the unique demands of a co-parenting relationship may benefit you.