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How might a teenager’s independence make co-parenting difficult?

On Behalf of | Mar 18, 2022 | Divorce

If you divorce when your children are young, you can still dictate most of what they do. If you say they’ve had enough screen time for the day, it is easy enough to enforce. If you tell them they are going to their mom’s tomorrow, you can put them in the car and take them.

Teenagers can be more tricky. They expect, need and deserve increased independence. If you are used to having everyone do as you say, that could cause friction. Accepting that allows you to take a more realistic approach.

Here are some things to consider:

You may need to discuss things more

You want your child in the house at 8 pm on school days. Your child pushes for 9 p.m., and your co-parent agrees with them. The “my house, my rules” approach is unlikely to work here. You need to have a discussion and reach a consensus. Or agree to differ depending on which house the child is at. However it ends, allow your child to give their point of view just like you.

They won’t want to spend all their time with you

It can be hard when you only get to see your kid some of the time due to sharing custody. Yet, most teenagers have better things to do than hang out with their parents all day. Hobbies, friends and events are all important to them, just as they were to you at that age.

Be prepared to allow your teenager to do those things even though it reduces how much time you get to spend with them. If they struggle to find time in their busy schedule to spend with you, try programmings slots to hang out just like you would with an adult.

However close your child is to turning 18, they are still your responsibility if they are not there yet. Working out how you will share that responsibility as co-parents is a crucial part of your divorce.

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