Holcomb Law, P.C. - March 2020

Artful Parenting HOW TO SUPPORT YOUR TEEN’S ARTISTIC PASSIONS When a teenager is involved in sports, it’s easy to show support for their passion. You take them to practice, go to their games, celebrate their victories, and help them learn from their losses. But what if your teen is more into arts than athletics? Without a literal sideline to cheer from, helping your child grow and develop in fields like writing, painting, and photography can feel — well, abstract. But make no mistake, parents can show concrete support in a few ways to help their budding artist grow and excel in the arts. Just as many young athletes have star players they look up to and try to emulate on the field, aspiring artists can look to those making waves in their artistic fields today. Often, school courses focus on “the classics,” which can just feel like homework to an aspiring artist. This is where you can help. Introduce the work of contemporary artists to your teen, or better yet, give your teen opportunities to discover them on their own. Trips to museums and libraries can be just as impactful on growing artists as going to a ball game. You may not have to drive your high schooler to writing practice, but you can still give them the tools and support they need to hone their passion. The most obvious way is by asking to see their writing or art, but keep in mind many teens may not be willing to share something that personal. Still, reminding them you’re genuinely interested in their work can help them stick with their passion. Indirect gestures like buying them quality art supplies can also show them you value their craft. Stars to Strive For No. 1 Fan

I n any type of shared custody arrangement, whether it’s physical custody or legal custody, both parents have an obligation to honor the other party’s parental rights. This means that if you have physical custody of your child, but you share legal custody with your ex-spouse, you must honor the other party’s right to contribute to the decision- making related to the child’s life. Along this same line, you need to honor the other party’s parent time with the child or other shared custody/visitation arrangements. If you do not honor the other party’s custodial rights, they may be in a position to take you to court in order to hold you accountable for your actions (or inaction) and to enforce the formal custody agreement. If this happens, you will be required to show clear cause that your failure to honor the custody agreement was done in the child’s best interest. For example, if you refuse to honor the other party’s right to make a decision related to your child’s medical care, you must be able to clearly show that your refusal was in the child’s best interest. Child Custody and Honoring Parental Rights If you cannot demonstrate that your failure to honor the other party’s parental rights was in the child’s best interest, the court often enforces the custody agreement as written. If this happens, you may be responsible for the legal fees of the other parent. If your withholding is significant, the other parent may seek to change the custodial arrangement, and you may lose what arrangements you currently have. Keep in mind, this can go both ways. If the other party is not honoring your rights as a parent, you may be able to take action. In Virginia, the court must consider a number of factors before it awards custody to a parent. One major factor is a parent’s commitment to encouraging the child’s involvement with the other parent.

The Big Leagues

Sure, there’s no varsity watercolor portrait team, but student artists can strive for important milestones. School clubs like student newspapers

can provide a semiprofessional outlet for young artists, and there are myriad creative outlets outside the classroom as well. Community galleries, youth anthologies, coffee shop open mics — these are all amazing opportunities for your teen to take their work to the next level.

Just as most teen athletes won’t be professional players, you don’t have to expect your artist to be the next Ursula K. Le Guin or Banksy. Whatever their interests are, helping your child explore their passions and enjoy a discipline will leave them with skills and memories they’ll draw upon the rest of their life.

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