Parents who divorce when their children are teens often don’t think they need to give much consideration to a parenting plan beyond the scheduling of whose whom their kids will be in on any given day and how holidays and vacation time will be handled. However, teens still need their parents.
Having a plan that will address their educational and extracurricular activities as well as things like learning to drive, looking at colleges, getting their first after-school or summer job and boyfriends/girlfriends are crucial to helping ensure that they continue to thrive amidst the changes in their family. It can also help both parents remain involved in their teen’s life and activities.
Why teens should be involved in the scheduling
Teens can and should typically have some say in the parenting time schedule. If one parent is living farther away from school than the other, for example, it may be wise to schedule that parent’s time around the weekends or at least on days when they don’t have to stay late or come in early for an activity.
Having a shared family calendar that both of you and your teen can access can also help with everyday activities – from when school projects are due to soccer games. It can also help everyone stay informed so that one parent is less likely to be left out of the loop (intentionally or unintentionally) on activities around their child.
Flexibility is key to any parenting plan involving a teen. They may seem to live for hockey one year and the next year decide that they want to learn the flute and join the school marching band. They shouldn’t have to worry that changing their schedule or their interests are going to cause friction between their parents.
Developing a custody schedule and parenting plan that works for all of you can be a challenge. It’s wise to have experienced legal guidance.