Minnesota parents who have been through a divorce, are living apart and are struggling to co-parent their teenaged child should consider several ways they could possibly improve their family situation. Successful co-parenting provides a teenager with stability and support — two important factors that can help prevent risky behavior and experimentation.

Focusing on solid communication is one way exes can successfully co-parent. For example, divorced parents should always be in touch when it comes to a teen’s friends. A parent shouldn’t assume the other parent knows who is in the teenager’s life, especially when it means neglecting to get to know the teen’s friends. Peer pressure is a major factor in why a teenager might turn to risky behavior. Communicating about a teen’s life can go a long way toward providing consistent guidance.

When a teen starts driving and gains more freedom, co-parenting can get a bit trickier. It might be tempting to let a teen decide where he or she is going to spend time since it’s no longer necessary to drive them between each parent’s house. However, the teen’s newfound freedom can be detrimental to his or her well-being. Parents should keep the lines of communication open and let each other know when the teen claims to be heading to the other parent’s house. 

Finally, it’s important to remember that teens can easily take advantage of a poorly structured co-parenting arrangement. Many teens quickly find ways to exploit their parents by learning how to lie and manipulate to get what they want.

Since divorce can have a major effect on a child’s life, separating parents may want to obtain legal counsel. Family law attorneys could help parents come up with agreements that are in the child’s best interests.