Figuring out how to share parental responsibilities is difficult. An effective parenting plan can help parents detail their respective responsibilities and care for their child. For any age of child, parenting is difficult, but it is especially difficult for older children. Pre-teen and teenage years are some of the most impressionable and some of the hardest. It is quite possible that a divorce or separation situation could lead to an adolescent-aged child to feel that the situation is their fault.
Making a parenting plan that fits the needs and interests of your older child is very important. Your child needs to know that the divorce or separation was not his or her fault and that he or she should not blame him or herself. As you develop a parenting plan for your older child, think about the following:
- Your child’s personality and temperament. How sensitive is your child? Is your child showing signs of depression? Is your child distancing him or herself?
- The activities in which your child participates. In which sorts of extracurricular activities does your child participate? Will the new situation make it impossible for your child to participate in some of those activities?
- Any medical conditions or learning disabilities your child may have. Does your child have a medical condition that needs attention? Does your child have a learning disability or mental disorder that requires special care?
- Primary residence and care of your child. Are parental responsibilities shared equally? Does one parent have sole legal and physical custody?
- Your child’s relationships with family members. Does your child have regular visits with grandparents, aunts and uncles or cousins? Does your child have siblings? If so, how are those relationships going to affected?
It is important to prepare a parenting plan that has your adolescent child’s interests in mind. It may be a good idea to create a parenting plan specifically for your older child and may be wise to create a separate parenting plan for each of your children if you have several. Your responsibility, as a parent, to your child is to care for and love him or her and do the best you can on his or her behalf. Keep a positive attitude as you make a parenting plan. The primary reason you are creating a parenting plan is your child and it is imperative to remember that at all times. You can make things work as you utilize a parenting plan. Your child could slip away from you if you do not have a good parenting plan in place.