How your pre-teens are being influenced by your divorce; from a Greensboro Family Lawyer

In Family by GWAO

What you need to know about your 9 Years to 12 Years child during your divorce.

Children at this age are just beginning to confront changes in their own identities when their world is upset by divorce. Their sense of identity is tied to what seemed secure—home, family, neighborhood, school, and friends. They are confused by divorce because it interferes with everything they depend on. Contact a Greensboro Divorce Lawyer for more information. At a time when they would normally be developing academic and athletic abilities, becoming aware of gender, and beginning to experience attraction to others, this development is threatened by the divorce.

At this age, children may be ashamed or embarrassed by the divorce and may feel powerless to do anything about it. They may experience somatic symptoms based on their conflict about the divorce. They may complain of headaches, stomachaches, fatigue, and generally feeling out of sorts. They may experience intense feelings of anger and direct this anger at the parent perceived to be at fault for the divorce. They may side with one parent and shut out the other. Their school performance may deteriorate, and they may have difficulties with peers.

What Parents Need to Know About Children 9 to 12 Years; from a Greensboro Divorce Lawyer point of view.

The important things for divorcing parents to know are as follows:

  • Loyalty conflicts are not unusual for a child at this stage. If the child chooses to side with one parent, that “chosen” parent must not use this behavior as an opportunity to reinforce a contention in a custody dispute that this choice shows the child’s preference. Children can be fickle and most divorce therapists warn against allowing children to choose between their parents.
  • Parents can assist a child at this stage by listening to the child’s needs, fears, concerns, and complaints without making judgments. Unfortunately, parents caught in a custody contest often use this intimate sharing by a child as an indication of parental fitness or unfitness. However, using the child’s words in this way fails to meet another extremely important need of the child, which is to know that the parents respect each other.
  • Speaking poorly of the other parent is one of the worst mistakes a divorcing parent can make. This negativity not only makes the child very uncomfortable, but also serves as a personal attack on the child’s self-image. (As the parents your child knows that he or she is a product of both of them.)
  • Each parent should encourage the child’s relationship with the other parent.
  • Parents must not send messages to each other through the child nor pump the child for information about the other parent or about the child’s relationship with the other parent.
  • The child may try to look “cool, “ to be very active, to make good impressions on friends, and to seem oblivious to the divorce. However, the parents need to know that this façade often masks the child’s intense hurt and pain. The child needs the parents to understand this pain and not simply see the child as “going through a stage.”
  • For the sake of security, the child needs consistency in the application of the rules and expectations that the parents have agreed to. However, at this age the child also may need more flexibility in the parenting arrangement if he or she is not coping well.
  • Parents are not only welcome in the child’s world but also necessary to the child’s survival.

If you or a loved one is considering a Greensboro Divorce Lawyer, contact Garrett, Walker, Aycoth, & Olson.