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How co-parenting can change in the teen years

Even for estranged Texas couples who have successfully co-parented for years after a divorce, new challenges may come along once their children are teenagers. It is important that parents do not relax their communication with one another or with their child at this time even as their teen becomes more mature and takes on more responsibilities.

Communicating with each other can be tough, and parents may be tempted to do less of it once their child reaches the teen years. They may even decide to let the teen keep each parent informed. This can be a mistake along with failing to coordinate with one another. Teens need flexibility but can take advantage of too much freedom. Furthermore, parents should not assume their teen behaves the same way around each of them. This assumption could mean teens are not getting the guidance they need.

Parents need to stay involved in their teens' lives and encourage their teens' friends to spend time at each of their homes. They also need to keep talking to one another. If one parent's life tends toward instability, that involvement is even more important. At the same time, parents should recognize that friends, activities and possibly even a job are all taking up more of a teen's time and that they need to be flexible with the parenting schedule.

Child custody negotiations can be challenging for parents who are going through a divorce. While it is hard to let go of the idea that their children will continue living with them full time, parents should try to focus on the best interests of the child. This is the position the court takes when deciding custody. While negotiating a child custody agreement can be less stressful and cheaper than litigation, it is still possible to build a healthy co-parenting relationship after going to court.

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