Creating a Parenting Plan For Teens
Going through a divorce is difficult under any circumstances, but it can be particularly challenging when children are involved. While young children may not understand all that is going on, teens have a greater awareness of the changes that are likely to result. When it comes to child time-sharing arrangements, creating parenting plans for teens requires additional thought and effort. Helping them adjust in a healthy manner to the situation is a top priority and the following tips are designed to help you through the process.
Common Concerns of Teens During Divorce
Children react to news of divorce differently depending on age. While younger children often become more clingy, teens are more likely to be aloof or even outright hostile. Make no mistake though-these behaviors mask a frightened child who needs reassurance from their parents that the situation will work out and that all of you will eventually be okay.
In order to provide this reassurance, it is important to understand the concerns your teen has. Unfortunately, this is a tough age for parent/child communications. Your attempts to talk may be greeted with blank stares or shrugs. This is where child development experts can help.
Nemours KidsHealth provides guidance on health and wellness topics for children of all ages. Their warnings that teenagers are somewhat self-centered in nature will not come as a shock to parents. This holds true in their reactions to divorce as well. Primary concerns they are likely to have include:
- Will they have to move and switch schools, neighborhoods, and friends?
- How will this impact their educational, sports, or recreational activities?
- Will this change the way they are treated by friends, teachers, or family members?
- Will the divorce impact their goals for the future and their plans for college, field trips, or other events?
- How will the divorce impact family finances and their lifestyle?
Of course, your teen will also have concerns about your family as a whole. While they may not vocalize it, they will likely worry about how you and your spouse will recover, how it will impact any siblings they have, and what will happen when one of you begins dating.
Developing a Parenting Plan That Works For You and Your Teenager
One of the biggest ways you can help your teen adjust to this new situation is by working with your former spouse in creating a parenting plan that takes their needs into account. This will detail the amount of time your child spends in each parent’s home as well as visits during school breaks, holidays, and special occasions. Things to keep in mind include:
- Factor in your teen’s busy schedule when making plans;
- Allow them to have some input in any arrangements made;
- Allow them plenty of free time for friends and social activities;
- Be flexible and willing to make adjustments as needed.
Let Us Help You Today
Creating parenting plans for teenagers presents unique challenges. Attorney Vanessa L. Prieto can help you through the process. Call or contact our Fort Lauderdale child custody attorney online and request a consultation today.