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Flexibility can make shared parenting of teenagers easier

Parenting gets harder as your children get older. Not only do you have to deal with the strain on your relationship that comes with adolescence, but your family will also have to acclimate to the stress of jam-packed schedules due to social events, sports and other extracurricular activities.

It can be hard enough to manage all of the demands of caring for a well-rounded teenager with your family intact, but during and after a divorce, it can seem impossible to juggle the various responsibilities that fall on the custodial parents. It will be much easier for everyone in your family if you and your ex are able to work together and be flexible with parenting time schedules.

Flexibility makes working together easier

Many people consider flexibility to be a critical component of a healthy co-parenting relationship. Regardless of the age of your children, you need to be willing to work together and compromise in some circumstances.

Agreeing to change things on the fly when circumstances abruptly change can make things easier for both parents and the children. Strictly sticking to the letter of the parenting plan may seem like the simplest solution, but it is often impossible to predict exactly what needs will arise as your children continue to grow and develop into young adults. That can mean a lot of gray areas or omissions not covered in the parenting plan.

Working together makes you more effective parents

When you fight over custody issues and responsibilities, your kids get stuck in the middle. Putting a plan in place to resolve conflicts and agreeing to compromise and communicate calmly can make it easier for you to manage the ongoing relationship that your shared parenting responsibilities necessitate.

It's natural that conflicts will arise between teenagers and their parents. Knowing you can support each other and trade parenting time to allow everyone a chance to cool off after an argument can be beneficial for everyone in the family.

Cooperation will make your kids the focus of your relationship

When your ex calls you frantic because they are stuck in traffic, it may be frustrating to have to walk away from your dinner and drive across town, but that is what is best for your children. More importantly, it is also important for strengthening the co-parenting relationship that you have with your ex and keeping things focused on what is best for the kids.

When the time comes in the future that you need help and support, you will know that you can rely on your ex to pick up the slack because you do the same for them. With everything from health to school schedules being relatively unpredictable, flexibility and the desire to work together can make all the difference in the world.

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John T. Chamberlin, Attorney at Law
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