Co-parenting after divorce can be quite challenging as California parents have to figure out how to deal with each other when communication might have broken down before and played a role in the end of their marriage. When they need to continue raising their adolescent children, the hurdles they might face are very specific. However, they can learn to work together for the benefit of their children.
Adolescents might be affected differently than younger children
When parents divorce, children usually deal with a range of emotions that can include guilt, rage, grief and fear. However, while younger children might develop attachment issues that make them cling to their parents more fiercely, adolescents often pull away, becoming more distant and independent from them. Adolescents might become rebellious and defiant against their parents and engage in riskier behavior as they decide that they cannot depend on their parents who could not keep the family together.
What parents of adolescents can do
While challenging, divorced parents of adolescents will need to continue co-parenting them and offering them emotional support. To be successful, this endeavor requires cooperation from the parents. Some of the things they can do include:
- Committing to honest, respectful communication with each other
- Showing understanding and flexibility when it comes to last-minute necessary changes to plans
- Promising to meet their commitments with the children such as by attending events and keeping family dates
- Being supportive of their co-parent and praising the things they do well with the children
- Remaining involved in the active day-to-day raising of the children
- Being open to resolving any conflicts regarding the children amicably with their co-parent and supporting each other with decisions regarding the raising of the children
Co-parenting adolescents might be difficult. However, the two of you can work together to show your children that you continue to be committed to them even if you are no longer a couple.