Planning Visitation for Teenagers
Parenting a teenager can be challenging in the best of situations, but divorced parents are presented with a unique set of issues. Arranging visitation time can be difficult, since your child will likely be focusing on friends, sports, love, and growing up instead of spending time with their parents. But that doesn’t mean there are not a variety of strategies and practices that can help preserve your relationship with your child.
Regardless of what your child might say or think, they need you more than ever during their teenage years. They need someone safe to talk to, someone as a role model, and someone to support them – no matter how they may act. When it comes to planning visitation, here are some guidelines and tips that might make it easier to schedule visitation with a teenager:
- Be flexible: The life of a teenager can be a hectic, stressful experience. Be mindful of the constant changes, activities, friends that come and go, sports, personal interests and goals, and other aspects of your teenager’s life that are important to them. Arrange your visitation time to include participating in what’s important to your teen and be flexible about the times and days. Forcing your teen to miss sports practice or parties with their friends might not foster a closer relationship – it takes understanding.
- Stay in touch: It’s rare to see a teenager without a cell phone these days, and communicating over the phone, video chat, and texting can be a great way to keep the conversation and love flowing. It’s always easier to maintain visitation when you have routine communication with your teenager.
- Work with your child’s other parent: Regardless of the custody arrangements, it’s best if you can maintain communication with your ex-spouse and work with them to plan and adjust visitation as needed. A child needs both parents, so work out agreements that are both best for your child and in accord with the court-ordered visitation time.
- Plan activities that your teenager might enjoy: You can make visitation easier by planning and arranging activities that your teen might enjoy. Your visitation can include going to a concert, seeing a sports game, binge-watching your teen’s favorite shows, or countless other activities.
- Help your child prepare to be independent: As your child grows up, you can expect them to start working part-time, applying to colleges, and, in some cases, preparing to move out. Help them with these challenging activities by incorporating them into your visitation plans. This can mean showing them how to pick the right apartment, finding clothes for a job interview, and even something as stuffy as filing taxes.
- Rules and guidelines: Chances are if you have a difficult time spending time with your child, so does the other parent. Both of you can set a minimum amount of visitation hours in order for you both to get an equal amount of time with your teenager. You can also work together to hold your teenager, and each other, accountable.
Communication is the Key
Regardless of which parenting style you use, maintaining regular contact with your child and an open, free communication line with your ex-spouse is an essential part of successfully raising a teen. Take advantage of modern technology to make this happen.
If You’re Having Trouble with Visitation
If you’ve done everything you can and still can’t seem to arrange a fair visitation schedule with your teen, it might be time to contact a San Diego child custody attorney to help. At Huguenor Mattis, A.P.C., we strive to help parents work out amicable solutions that are best for both the child and parents without court involvement.
Should this fail and court involvement is necessary, you can be confident your case is in top-level legal hands. We have a proven record of attaining court-enforcement of visitation rights, as well as utilizing other legal resources to help protect the rights of parents to see and help raise their children. Call us today at (858) 458-9500 if you need legal advice about your child custody case.