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How can you deal with a troubled child after divorce?

When your kids are in their teens, one of the things that could start happening is that they try to leverage you or their other parent to get the things they want. Whether it's trying to convince you both that they're at the other parent's home for the night while they really go out to a party or just trying to manipulate which home they're in when they might have been in trouble in the other, it's a definite struggle.

Parents who have a child who is testing boundaries should be smart about their reactions. You're split between homes, which does make this harder to deal with. That's why you need to work on communication and make sure you're both sticking with the penalties and requirements you expect your child to adhere to.

Here's a good example. If your child tells you they're sleeping over at their dad's house and tells their dad that they're with you, that's a big issue. Neither of you really know where they are.

The next time your child makes plans to stay with the other parent, even if you have lax scheduling, make sure you call and verify. You should ask that your ex-spouse does the same. If your child lies or tries to manipulate either of you, then it's important that you both choose a fair punishment and stick to it.

It's hard to raise a child between homes, but with good parenting and great communication, you can make it work. If you do need to adjust your schedule to better care for a child who is acting out, you two may want to speak about a modification in the future.

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