Co parenting Adolescents
Today we are talking about teenagers (aka adolescents). Adolescents can be difficult at the best of times, but when it comes to co parenting adolescents and trying to ensure that they spend time with both of you, life can become even more complicated.
Adolescents as you know go through a variety of emotional and hormonal changes and they are learning to express themselves in their own individual way. They are learning about their peer and social groups. They are making friends and want to start creating their own life for themselves. It becomes difficult because you usually have one parent who has them the majority of time and the other parent is supposed to be spending time with them and on those occasions they don’t want to go – they would much rather be spending time with their friends, hanging out in their bedroom, working or doing whatever else they like to do. This is difficult for the other parent to accept. It is difficult because they feel like they are missing out and to an extent they are – they are not getting to spend that quality time with their children anymore. But I want you to remember that at this point in time it is no fault of the other parent. This is something that every teenager goes through and if you were in an intact family you would be going through the same scenario. Yes you may get to see them at dinner 1 or 2 nights per week when they decide to join the family for dinner but they would still rather be by themselves or doing their own thing as opposed to hanging out with mum or dad.
When they are going through these changes the best thing you can do is to make sure that you continually remind them that you love them, that you are there for them and that if they need to talk to you about anything they can come and talk to you. This goes for both parents. Teenagers are going through so much and sometimes they need a good sounding board that is not their social group to bounce things off – their feelings, what they are going through. Most of the time they won’t want to talk to you but if you can keep those lines of communication open so that when they do want to talk to you they feel comfortable enough to approach you then this is a great start.