As a parent, it is your responsibility to do whatever you can to help your children get through difficult times. During a divorce, your teenager may have difficulties that they don’t feel comfortable talking about. They might worry about what you’re going to say if they don’t choose to live with you or worry that they’ll get caught in the middle.
It is your responsibility to help your child by making it clear that you and the other parent are going to do only what is in their best interests. This includes understanding if they make a decision you don’t necessarily agree with but understand the reasoning behind.
Teens are not able to simply choose whom they want to live with, so your teen should not have to worry about “selecting” a place to live. If your case goes before a judge, the judge will listen to your child’s custody wishes, but that doesn’t mean that they’ll get what they want.
It’s good to approach custody from a collaborative standpoint. Talk to your ex-spouse about what they think they’d like to do, and consider your own situation as well. If possible, both of you should sit down with your child to talk about the options and listen to what they’d like to do.
For example, if you or the other parent could have custody through the school week and live in different school districts, your child may opt to live in one home or the other to be closer to friends or to take particular classes at a school they want to attend. Factors like this should be discussed, so that your teen, your ex and you are on the same page with the custody schedule.
Child custody issues aren’t going to last forever, especially when your child is already a teenager. Bringing them into this discussion and having them in agreement is helpful, but parents should be ready to make the final decision when necessary. If your teen seems stressed about these discussions, you and the other parent can make that decision for them on their behalf, so they can relax and focus on adjusting.