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Parenting teens successfully post divorce

The divorce process means making many changes, particularly if there are children involved. This process can be even more challenging for many Kentucky parents when it includes co-parenting teenagers. There are some things, however, that parents should avoid, to continue providing a safe, supportive environment for their teenagers as they grow.

When it comes to child custody, parents usually have a parenting plan as the rule book for parenting after divorce. For some parents, strictly following the plan is what makes them able to co-parent. However, with teenagers, parents have to be more flexible since teenagers have their own interests and relationships that will compete with the time allotted with each parent in the plan. Without this flexibility, parents might find themselves in unwanted, and unneeded, confrontations with their teens.

Parents should also avoid shutting down the communication lines with each other or falling into sending messages to their ex through their teen. While the teen might seem responsible and mature, messages can be distorted or even never reach their destination. In the same way, parents should continue to coordinate with each other about their teenagers' schedule, even if the teenager has begun driving and seeks additional freedom over their time.

Similarly, parents should avoid shutting down communication about the process and the life post-divorce with their teenager. Even if their teenager seems to be handling the divorce and its changes well, parents should continue to offer support, stability and a safe space for the teenager. These are all necessary for teenagers to continue growing and developing healthily and to help them avoid taking unnecessary risks socially, emotionally or behaviorally.

During the process of the divorce, parents might also seek assistance from a family law lawyer to guide them and address questions and concerns. The lawyer may also offer representation in negotiations and court, helping the parent with the load of the divorce process.

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