As a divorcee, one of the things you’ve always focused on was providing your kids with as much as you could. You made sure to be at their sporting events and to show up at rehearsals. You spent as much time as possible with them when they were young, and you focus on being there for them when they need you now.
As your children age, you may find that they’re becoming more independent. Some may begin to question their custody arrangements or begin saying that they have their own preferences for where to live or when they come and go.
Teenage custody plans can be tough, but it’s important to give your teen an opportunity to help you build it if you want to have quality parenting time with them.
As your teen becomes independent, be their support
Instead of trying to hold tightly to strict timelines and custody dates, remember that now is a time when your teen is starting to branch out. If they’re already driving, for example, they may be working during days when you used to have custody, or they might want to spend time with friends.
Sit down with your teen to talk about custody and what it means for you to spend time with them. Make rules and guidelines, so they know what you expect. For instance, you might be comfortable with them working on your custody days, but you may ask that they leave at least one day to spend a few hours together.
Your plan does need to adapt to your teenager’s schedule as it becomes busier, but that doesn’t mean that your custody plan goes out the window. Give them guidance on where they should stay at night, and make sure there are open lines of communication if they decide to stay with the other parent or want to go out with friends.
Watching your child grow up can be tough, and your custody plan may seem restrictive. Your custody plan doesn’t have to be a burden. Now is a good time to practice flexibility and to find what works for you and your child.