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Co-parenting teens: 3 tips to help cope with custody demands

Co-parenting teenagers has its unique set of challenges. Once your child is in their teens, they will start to become more independent. They may get a job in their later teens or begin driving. Over time, it’s normal to see that you have less control over whom they see or where they go.

If your child has just reached their teens, now is the time to put a good plan into place to help keep your custody plan working the way it’s supposed to. Involving your teen in some of your planning can help, and it can also give them a chance to see what they should expect in the future.

Co-parenting a teenager requires discipline

Co-parenting a young teen requires both you and the other parent to be on the same page and to have discipline. Teens like to push to see how much they can get away with, and that may put a strain on your relationship during these years. It’s important for you and your ex-partner to respect each other’s disciplinary policies and to uphold them between homes. You should have open communication, so you can better handle the teen years as puberty strikes.

Older teens may need better guidelines

The next thing to think about is that your older teen may need better guidelines. For example, if you and your ex-partner have split your parenting time evenly but your teen drives off and only returns to one of your homes at random, it’s time to sit down with them and to explain why that plan is in place. Even if they’re at work or involved with afterschool activities, it’s still necessary for you and your ex-partner to know where they are and when they’ll be home. It’s not up to your teen to decide that they want to ignore the custody plan.

If you start having issues with custody as your teen ages, talk to them. Express your concerns and explain why your plan is the way it is. If changes need to be made, then you can seek a modification through the court to help your child adjust while giving them more freedom.