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Teenagers and Older Children

Tags: teenagers, parent on duty, changing interest, contact, parenting time, changing need, teenagers and older children, sleepovers, taking care of teenagers, how to treat teenagers, s
Content Types: Children In the Middle
Categories: After Separation

It is natural for teenagers to want to spend more time with their friends and doing activities than to have close contact with their parents. If you are used to reviewing the parenting time arrangements to reflect your children's changing needs this will happen naturally. Rigid and inflexible parenting time arrangements can feel like a burden to teenagers so it's worth asking young people if the plans still work for them.

Allowing more flexibility, so that they can have sleepovers at friends or fit in a part time job, without feeling guilty that they are letting mum or dad down gives children a positive message. Although many young people do not want major changes, some find that shifting between two households is a big effort at this stage in their lives.  If this is the message you're getting, it's worth retaining some structure, for example, a weekly dinner together, on top of an expectation that you'll get together whenever you can.

Even if your son or daughter is taking more of a lead in planning their time with you, it doesn't mean that parents no longer need to communicate. In fact, it can be more important than when they were younger. You still need to check that any arrangements you make don't interfere with plans the other parent may have. You need to be clear who the parent on duty is so that at any time one of you knows where your son or daughter is.

It's also important that you share information such as school performance and who their friends are. Even parents who are still together can miss signs that their children are unhappy or engaged in risky behaviour. Teenagers need to know that there are still boundaries to their behaviour and that both parents are united in providing guidance and keeping them safe.

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