When dealing with children, age is an essential factor to consider. Each age bracket comes with different needs. While toddlers mainly require sustenance and care, teens have different and often more complex needs. This applies whether parents are together or not. For co-parents, a parenting plan should always consider a child’s current situation at home, in school and in other environments they may be active in.
Factors to consider
Teens start to be independent and often want to do things on their own. Because of this, they may start spending less time at home and more time outside. If a parenting plan is too strict, it can put pressure on the child and affect their overall mood and attitude. When establishing a parenting plan, co-parents should consider the following factors in a child’s life:
- Class schedules and extracurricular activities
- Out-of-school training, such as piano lessons, soccer practice and volunteering
- Summer jobs or internship opportunities
- Leisure activities, such as shopping with friends or going on dates
- Other interests
Normally, if a child has a comfortable relationship with their parents, they will make their parents know of these aspects of their lives. This can help parents create a more effective parenting schedule.
How can these factors affect the parenting plan?
Since teenagers are busier, they want to preserve their energy for the interests they value most. If a parenting schedule is too tight or complex, teens may find it tiring, which could affect their relationship with their parents. Keeping open communication with their children can help parents create a suitable schedule.
Each child is different
Some teens may want a 50-50 plan with their parents, while others prefer staying primarily in one home and visiting the other during weekends. The perfect parenting plan will be based on a child’s relationship with each parent, their priorities, and interests and preference.