Divorce is not easy for anyone involved, but it might be especially difficult for teenagers who are already going through their own struggles as they navigate the waters of adolescence. On top of dealing with physical and hormonal changes that can be stressful for a young person, handling divorce can shake up a teen’s world.
Some teenagers adapt well and do their best to respect their parents. However, some teens see it as an opportunity to get their way and turn to tactics such as manipulation and lying. A bulletproof co-parenting plan can go a long way toward making sure a teen’s life stays stable in the wake of a divorce, and stability often breeds better behavior.
Keeping the lines of communication open is one way divorced parents can make sure they are handling their teens well. Ex-spouses should always communicate about their children’s lives. A person should never assume that his or her ex knows everything he or she knows, especially when it comes to friends. Friends can be a major influence on a teenager, and both parents should know a teen’s friends well to make sure they are good influences.
Parents should also maintain flexibility in their schedules to prevent undue conflict between themselves and their children. Flexibility means a teen will not have to juggle spending time with both of his or her parents while trying to focus on school, friends and other activities. A willingness to be flexible will relieve much of a teenager’s stress, making things easier on everyone. A stressed teen is one who is more likely to turn to risky behaviors.
Individuals who are considering divorce may wish to consult with a lawyer who has child custody experience. An attorney may help parents come to an agreement that is in their children’s best interests.