Teenagers between the ages of 13 -18 are very much in a time of transition. Although the process of separation from the family begins earlier, this age group looks more and more to peer groups than to the family for self esteem and validation.
Parents concerns with teenage children include ensuring their adolescent children avoid drugs or alcohol, sexual activity, and school absences. These concerns are magnified where one household has divided into two. Teenagers often fail to understand consequences of high risk behavior. As a family attorney cautions, your child may use a lack of communication between you and your former spouse to engage in such behaviors.
It is a natural reaction for the divorced parent to be self involved. After all, you are experiencing an emotional, likely traumatic change in your life. That self involvement may lead to a reduced role as a parent. However, at this age, children require increased supervision, not less, and will, without any conscious realization, look to you as a role model. The manner in which you deal with your ex-spouse will have a lasting impact on how your child forms relationships and commits to trusting others as he or she matures.
Remember when you were this age. You pushed the limits to see where you stood. It is the time for a child to seek to independence. That is why it is an essential time for both parents to act together to set consistent and unified rules and strategies for handling their teenagers.
An experienced family law attorney can counsel you on ways to establish and continue communications with your former spouse on parenting plans during these trying years of development. If you’re going through a divorce and need the legal assistance of a dedicated and caring Ventura County based family attorney, do not hesitate to contact Lisa Zonder today for a consultation.