Category Archives: Positive Parenting

Do you think your cool enough for your teenager?


A Middle Eastern woman with her daughter-in-lawI was walking in the mall with Jillian, now 24, and in front of us was a mom with a young teenage daughter, around age 13. The daughter was about 2 feet in front of her mother, and was acting like she wasn’t with her. My daughter and I both laughed. She said “Oh Mom, do you remember when I used to do that”. And I said “I sure do!”. Those were the days when, as a mother, I wasn’t cool, and for that matter, at 13, not many adults were. I soon realized that many teens exhibit this behavior.  It was comforting to know that it wasn’t just me that wasn’t allowed to hug my child or give her a kiss on the cheek in public. Of course, Jillian out grew that stage and a couple years later we were walking arm in arm through the mall once again.


That memory got me thinking about those teenage years so I put together a list of  10 ways you know you have a teenager in the family. I hope you get a kick out of it.


1) You know you have a teenager when you look in their bedroom and it looks like the room has been robbed and ransacked. Clothes and other items are everywhere.


2) You know you have a teenager when you invite your child and their friends to go to the movies and they insist you go to a different movie.


3) You know you have a teenager when your child signs you up for a reality show to teach you how to dress.


4) You know you have a teenager when they don’t like anything you buy for them for their birthday, Christmas, or any other ocasion.


5) You know you have a teenager when it looks like gremlins have been in the kitchen and have eaten everything in sight.


6) You know you have a teenager when  you are longer welcomed to volunteer in the classroom or show up with lunch at the cafeteria.( Orders from  your child.)


7)  You know you have a teenager when your children are complaining that there bored all of the time even though they have all of the newest electronic games and computer rigmarole available.


8) You know you have a teenager when there seems to be a phone growing out of the side of their head or the tip of their fingers..


9)  You know you have a teenager when you find a sign on their door that says “no children allowed” or “Enter at your own risk”.


10) You know you have a teenager when your child keeps telling you  “You just don’t understand me. Times have changed since you were young.” (like it was all that long ago.)


I was trying to be funny with my top 10 but the truth is that teens need their parents and they need to their parents to understand them and show them love and affection. It’s important to stay involved. Many parents are trying to parent on their own and the added stress of separation or divorce makes it even more difficult to bond with teens. I encourage you not to give up and keep trying to fit in their life. They’ll thank you for it later. I found this article interesting; “Why is it so hard for parents to understand their teenagers?” I hope it helps you. I wish I’d read this when I had two teenager girls in the house!


We would love to hear about your experiences with your teens! Maybe you can shed some light on the subject for the rest of the parents  who still have those wonderful teenage years to look forward to.


Thanks for reading. Spend some time with your teen today!!




Visit us on our official website at My Turn Your Turn is a co-parenting website designed to help organize families and improve communication between co-parents sharing children due to divorce or separation.  Specializing in co-parenting tools and shared parenting resources including an online custody calendar,  online divorce journal, child support tracker and more for blended families, single parents and high conflict divorce cases.


Parenting Plans: Is it A Plan for Success or the Beginning of Future Litigation

divorced parents getting alongI heard a Judge tell a husband and wife in a divorce case, “Although you are divorced now, you will be in each other’s lives for the next 18 years!” As a witness to the Judge’s statement, I can say with complete certainty that both parties were not excited about the Judge’s frank announcement. Most people think when they divorce they are permanently removed from their former spouse’s life.  Realistically, when there are minor children in the picture, it does not work that way.  Why?  You guessed it correctly! Because a new relationship must be forged with the same person you believe you divorced; a relationship that revolves strictly around the needs of your children with no regard of your own needs. That is a difficult concept for many parents to grasp.

I am not a parent and I am not married. Nevertheless, I am a family law attorney. Attorney Silva and I deal with this concept and its associated issues daily. Together we have over twenty-two years of experience dealing with parents from every social and economic background yet they share a common challenge, transforming their joint relationship with the children into an individual relationship joined with the individual relationship of their former spouse.  I have gained a tremendous amount of insight about parenting and as the old adage goes, “proper preparation prevents poor performance.” This certainly applies to parenting. Thus, a well written parenting plan can be a great way to properly prepare for the challenges of parenthood after a divorce.

Since 2008, the Florida Legislature requires parenting plans be created in all divorce cases with children under 18 years of age.  Florida Statute  61.046(14) defines a parenting plan as “a document created to govern the relationship between the parents relating to decisions that must be made regarding the minor child and must contain a time-sharing schedule for the parents and child. The issues concerning the minor child may include, but are not limited to, the child’s education, health care, and physical, social, and emotional well-being.” Therefore, if you divorced in or after 2008 and you have children, “time-sharing schedule” and “right of first refusal” are familiar phrases to you.

Parenting plans can be plans for successful parenting. The parenting plan will work best if Mom and Dad cooperate and respect each other as parents.  Be specific, include anything and everything from time-sharing, tax considerations, insurance, extra-curricular, to telephone and internet rules.  Parenting plans generally contain flexibility provisions which allow parents to make agreed upon changes they deem appropriate without resorting to the Court system.  It becomes a living document, a guide to be used instead of the Court system.  However, without cooperation and respect, the parenting plan becomes more of a weapon one or both parents can use against each other. This will surely land you back in front of a Judge, who will in 99% of the cases tell you that both you and your former spouse have behaved badly.  You will have disagreements about what is best for the children as they grow.  Is that really any different than when you were married?  Learning to discuss your differences in a civilized manner and picking your mountains is important because children mimic their parents and are influenced by their parent’s behavior. In terms of conflict resolution, you can set a great example for your children by conducting yourselves appropriately when problems arise.  It is always best to have any changes, even temporary, done in writing, whether via emails and texts or a formal agreement.

On the other hand, parenting plans can also be the beginning of future litigation.  When parents do not embrace the notion of shared parental responsibility or co-parenting, this can lead to many problems. Shared parental responsibility means that neither parent is superior to the other in regards to decision making. It requires a cooperative and unified effort. For example, disagreements over where your children will attend school or who is allowed to pick them up from school are issues we see regularly at our office.  Recently, a parent moved to a new school district and removed the child from school without the consent of the other parent.  When asked why that was in the best interest of the child, the answer was that it was easier to get the child to and from school before work.  What would your answer be? When making important decisions both parents must consider what is in the best interests of the children, as opposed to what is in the best interests of the individual parent.  That one issue led to costly litigation for both parents.  Can you guess what the Judge ruled?  I often ask my clients to take themselves out of the picture and pretend it is someone else’s child, what would  you advise that parent to do for their child?

In short, successful parenting depends on the parents and their attitudes.  If you approach anything with a positive, cooperative, respectful, and loving spirit, you are sure to get the results that you desire. The most important aspect of co-parenting is the children’s needs above the parents’ needs. The “my way or the high way” attitude goes against the spirit of shared parental responsibility and will be detrimental to the development of happy and healthy children.  Remember, they will be the parents of your grandchildren, how you handle their needs as children may very likely come back to haunt you!

By: Denaro Allen, Esq.; Law Offices of Gail Linscott Silva, P.A.

Denaro Allen, Esq. can be reached at

Denaro Allen pic


Try to look for the good things in a tough co-parenting relationship

co-parent dad holds sonCo-parenting can be challenging but it can also be rewarding. I tried to be thankful for the good things in the tough co-parenting relationship that I had. Even though sometimes it seemed like it was overwhelming, there were some good things about it. Just the fact that we had an amazing daughter to share was special. I couldn’t and still can’t imagine my life without her. There are always good things about everyone. Try to remember the things that attracted you in the first place. Be sure to share those great memories with your children.

Oprah talks about how her life changed the minute she started writing down three things that she was grateful for every day. She said you find yourself looking for things to be grateful about and, that in itself, changes your life. I recommend that you keep a journal and try to write a couple good things about your co-parent each week.

In the My Turn Your Turn co-parenting website a journal is provided for documentation as well as personal memoirs.

I’ve always been a pretty optimistic person and I raised Jillian by myself for the first five years of her life. Her father decided he wanted to be a part of her life and called when she was almost 3. Then, when she was 5 we got married and I moved to Florida, where he was living. I knew on the train trip, moving to Florida, that I made the biggest mistake of my life. Being the optimist that I am, I looked forward and I tried to make the new marriage work. We stayed married for only a year and a half. He never got a job and was emotionally and verbally abusive. I left and that’s when co-parenting and visitation schedules came into my life.

As a single parent again, I found out quickly that when you look at life optimistically chances are your children will too. I was trying to teach Jillian to see the beauty in everything and one day, as I was driving her home from school, she looked out the window and pointed to a construction site of a 7-11. She said to me “Oh, look mommy, Isn’t that beautiful, it looks just like Epcot”. It was so cute and really funny. I knew that she was trying to see the beauty in everything, even a construction site.

It Is a positive thing when a co-parent wants a relationship with your children. Statistics show that children thrive much better when they have both parents involved in their life. “Are you raising fatherless children?”

I recommend that you do everything you can to make your shared parenting relationship work for the benefit of your children. This is not the type of reward that pays monetarily but it will reap you rewards in many other ways. Always look for the good!

Blessings to you,


Visit us on our official website at My Turn Your Turn is a co-parenting website designed to help organize families and improve communication between co-parents sharing children due to divorce or separation. Specializing in co-parenting tools and shared parenting resources including an online custody calendar, online divorce journal, child support tracker and more for blended families, single parents and high conflict divorce cases.

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