Parenting After Divorce - A Complete Guide HTML version

loneliness or helplessness during the divorce. Listening to them without
judgment and allowing them to have their own feelings about the divorce and
talking to you about them is critical. You may find that a counselor works
best with this group of children as they may not really tell you what they feel
because they think it will make you sad or upset. They can, however, talk to
stranger that has no emotional stake in the conversation.
The kids in the nine to twelve year old range tend to respond rather strongly
to the divorce for many different reasons. One of the major issues is that
they are struggling with their own identity - not quite children yet not quite
teens either, so emotional changes hit this group particularly hard. It is not
uncommon for children of this age to feel powerless, betrayed and rejected
through divorce.
Nine to twelve year olds are also more aware that there may have been
problems in the family, especially if they overheard some hostile or negative
conversations between Mom and Dad. They may have already made up their
mind that one parent is to blame for the divorce, which may make them feel
that the "bad" parent needs to be punished by rejection. Often kids at this
age decide they are not going to have any contact with the parent that they
see as at fault for the divorce. Ultimately this actually harms the child as he
or she needs to have both a mother and father in his or her life. Even the
parent that has the child's full support must actively encourage and even
facilitate the ongoing relationship between the child and the other parent.
Typically once the child understands that Mom or Dad is still a good Mom or
Dad they will be willing to engage with that parent, which only helps to
maintain a loving relationship rather than resulting in a breakdown of that