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Flexible parenting plans are needed for teens

Parenting a teen is hard. They are exploring their ability to handle things independently and they aren't going to like having that stripped from them. They're also at the odd stage in life when they still need a schedule but they also need more flexibility. All of these factors together can make it difficult to come up with a parenting plan for them if you and their other parent split up.

One thing that can make the situation a lot easier is if you and your ex can work together to ensure the teen's needs are met. You may find that extracurricular activities and time with friends makes it hard to set a parenting time schedule. If the adults in the situation are able to remain flexible, the teen might be able to take the lead on when they will spend time at each home. Not only can this help to make your life easier, it is a good lesson on prioritizing and scheduling that can help them in adulthood.

Having a flexible parenting time schedule can also encourage the teen to keep up with important activities. They also need to learn how to balance their time. They should be expected to attend important family functions as long as they aren't interfering with their activities like team sports or a part-time job. For example, try not to schedule a sibling's birthday party during a time when the teen will have baseball practice. If you can't avoid schedule conflicts like family visits and practices, the teen might need to choose which is more important.

As you set the parenting plan for a teen, remember that things might change quickly with their needs. This could lead to you and your ex having to discuss and implement modifications.

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