California parents who have been through divorce and are struggling to co-parent their teenaged children should be aware of several tips to help make things easier for their kids. Divorce is hard on ex-couples, but it also profoundly affects teenagers, who often are already struggling with the daily trials of adolescence, such as hormonal and physical changes that may already lead to mood swings and depression.
First, divorced parents should make sure they do not stop communicating with each other about their teenager. Each parent may wrongfully assume that the other is aware of everything that is going on in the teenager's life, which can lead to a lack of support and guidance for the child. Parents should also make sure they do not fall into the trap of passing messages to each other through their child. Messages may not be delivered correctly, and it gives the child a considerable amount of power over his or her parents.
When the teen begins driving, parents should make sure they do not stop coordinating with each other. While the teen's ability to get from one parent's home to the other will certainly give both parents freedom, it also gives the teenager freedom he or she might take advantage of.
Parents with joint custody should also make sure they avoid making assumptions while they are co-parenting. For example, they might assume the child's other parent knows his or her friends when in reality neither does.
Individuals who are considering a divorce or have already gone through the process should consider consulting an attorney with experience in child custody. An experienced attorney may be able to help the parents come to an arrangement that is in the best interests of the child, as well as help come up with a solid custody plan that ensures each parent gets the parenting time he or she deserves.