Three Tips for Co Parenting Teenagers

Co parenting teens can be a challenge, but the right strategies can help.Raising teenagers is challenging in many ways. They often speak their minds, crave independence, and test their parents' patience. They also often deal with a constant wave of emotions brought on by changing hormones and the different things going on in their everyday lives. For co parents, raising teenagers may be tricky, but with the right strategies, co parents can get themselves and their young adults through these formidable years successfully. Consider these tips for co parenting teenagers.

Know What's Going On

Teenagers really do have a lot going on in their lives, whether or not they feel like talking about it. While some resistance is to be expected, there are things that co parents can do to help encourage their teenagers to talk to them. In each of your homes, try and have regular meals with your teenagers. Meal time is a perfect opportunity to go around the table and talk about what happened in each of your days. Beyond having regular breakfasts or dinners together, co parents should each have some one-on-one time with each of their teenagers. Maybe it's a weekly coffee outing, trip to the mall, or a walk around your neighbourhood park. If you can't physically be there one day with your teen, give them a call or chat online for a little while. 

Find a Balance in Independence 

Teenagers are likely to be craving independence, but their age and maturity level should inform co parents about how much independence their young adults are each ready to have. Agree to maintain a balance in the amount of independence that you and your co parent give to your teenagers. While your parenting styles and certain rules might vary between your homes, being consistent in the amount of independence that you give your teenagers will help them not to rebel so much in either of your homes. Also, try and settle on a consistent way of disciplining your teenagers. This will help them know what is expected of them in order to get the same about of independence that they desire in both homes. 

Show Your Support

The emotions surging through teenagers can stir up all sorts of feelings, and dealing with their parents' divorce on top of their own emotions can make things even more complicated. As co parents, show your support to your young adults. Remind them how much they love them and that you're always there for them no matter what. Be there when they want to talk, and give them a little space if that's what they need sometimes. Communicate with your co parent about what you notice in your teenagers, both things that make you feel proud and other things that concern you. Work together as a team to raise your teenagers as best you can together. Showing your teenagers that you and your co parent can still be a team in parenting even after divorce is a positive lesson for them to observe in you.

The teen years are trying enough without letting co parenting make them any more complicated. Know what's going on in your teenagers' lives, and find a balance between independence and limitations for them. Finally, always show your support to your teenagers, and be positive role models for how two people can work together even after going through a change like divorce.