Being a teenager is hard, and things can get much more complicated when parents divorce. But even if your teen seems ready to do things without your help, there are several things you can do to make his or her adolescence go more smoothly. Effectively co-parenting with your ex-spouse is a good place to start.
Of course you probably did not get a divorce because you work well with your ex. Co-parenting can still go smoothly if you are both committed to it. Here are several things you may want to keep in mind when going on this journey.
You have to communicate
Your teen is probably testing his or her newfound sense of freedom and independence. This means that you might be hearing less and less about what is going on at school or with friends. While this could simply be because there is less to report, it is more likely that he or she is keeping more information private.
With your teen splitting time between your household and your ex’s, each of you may end up with different information. Regularly communicating information about school reports, schedules and friends can keep both of you in the loop. This can help keep your relationship with your child stronger and healthier.
Remember to be flexible
Sticking to your parenting schedule no matter what might seem like a good idea, but that can backfire. Your teen’s life is a lot busier than when he or she was younger. Between hours of homework, extracurricular activities, friends and maybe a part time job, life will not necessarily squeeze into a strict schedule.
It is important for you and your ex-spouse to be flexible from time to time. This may mean spending an extra night at your house or spending a few extra hours with his or her other parent. This may take a bit of adjusting if you were strict on the parenting schedule when your child was younger.
Get on the same page
Running your household means making a lot of important decisions, especially when it comes to rules. But just like younger kids, teens still need a lot of consistent guidance from both parents. You and your ex should work to find middle ground on things like curfew, homework expectations and household chores.
Taking these co-parenting steps may seem easy, but it has to start with a strong child custody agreement. Whether you already have an agreement and need to update it or are creating one for the first time, it never hurts to have help and support along the way. An attorney who has plenty of experience in Ohio family law can provide that guidance.