Child development and suggested parenting plans

Child development and suggested parenting plans

Child development needs – 10 to 12 years of age
– Often want to be independent from their parents
– Becoming more attached to their friends
– They may blame one parent for the divorce
– Maybe angry and embarrassed by the break up of the family
– My side with one parent
– They often wish to have a say in where they will live (This is to be encouraged but it is up to the parents to make the final decision)
– Plans need to consider the child’s school and extracurricular activities
– Plans should also be flexible to accommodate an occasional overnight with friends away from both homes
– Regular parenting time is still needed

Development needs – Teenagers 13 to 18 years
– Is developing greater independence
– Is beginning to separate from the family, including both parents
– Teenagers begin to feel like young adults who think they no longer need their parents
– They also have times when they still want their parents to take care of them
– They begin to plan for driving and dating
– They are thinking about college or work
– They are feeling the pressures of school, family and friends
– They may not like a strict parenting time schedule
– They may show their dissatisfaction by becoming irritable or moody, or having an attitude they never had before
– Many teenagers lack the skills to express the many strong, conflicting emotions that go along with growing up
– Teenagers should be consulted as a matter of course with respect to any changes in the parenting plan schedule – Views are to be encouraged, but it is up to the parents to make the final decisions)
– During the separation or divorce, parents often feel the need to pull their teen closer to them to reassure themselves they are not losing their child to the other parent
– Sometimes parents are tempted to get the child on their side
– A teen may avoid both parents or reject one parent and cling to the other especially if the parents are putting them in the middle of their conflict
– Some teenagers want little or nothing to do with either parent and turn to friends or others to talk to who are not part of the conflict
– Teenagers are often confused and angry at the way their parents are acting and they feel their parents haven’t been concerned about how the divorce or separation is affecting them
– The strong conflicting emotions they experience may cause them to act in new and unfamiliar ways as they struggle to deal with these changes in their life
– Parents should not assume that the child’s mood swings or acting out are caused by the other parent

Early teens – 13 to 15 years of age
– They continue to use the family as a base of support and guidance
– This is the time when the child is striving for independence but is still tied to the parents
– Teenagers – for many different reasons – begin to assert more independence at different ages
– Decision-making abilities vary widely among teens in this age group as well as from one situation to another
– Teenagers often have outside interests that compete with the scheduled parenting plan
– They frequently prefer to spend more time with their friends than their parents
– They may as a result become resentful or angry if they cannot do what they want to do
– Teenagers may try to reach a deal with one or both parents to get what they want which may affect the other parent’s parenting time
– It is important for parents to talk with each other to decide when their parenting plan should be more flexible

Late teens – 16 to 18 years
– It’s important for parents of teenagers this age to maintain the child’s accessibility to school, friends, extra curricular and community activities from both homes
– Teenagers may feel they should have more independence
– They may resist a rigid parenting time schedule
– Parents must add greater flexibility to the parenting plan by thinking about the child’s wishes and deciding parenting time issues with the child
– The idea is to not force compliance with a parenting schedule but unable teenagers to have a say & feel like they are doing something they want to do
– Your teenager may benefit from the primary home base, with specific evenings, weekends and activities at the other home scheduled on a regular and predictable basis
– More than anything your teenager will usually want to have a say in the parenting plan but the teenager does not get to choose
– Regardless of your teenagers needs, the parenting plan should include the considerations listed here: – Work | Extra curricular activities | Social life | Increase schoolwork | Jobs | Peer relationships | Sports
– Many teenagers prefer one primary home (close to their friends) and weekends or evenings with the other parent
– Some will prefer a balanced 50-50 plan with their Parents (Much of this will depend on the history of the relationship with each other | The distance between parents | And the parents’ availability to meet their child’s needs)

Source: Supreme Court State of Arizona

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