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Tips for Parenting Children Age 9-12 Though Separation or Divorce

PressReleasePing - April 08, 2017 -Children 9-12 years old are more advanced in their thinking. Their response to a breakup is not the same asyounger children. Preteens have developed new thinking skills that allow them to understand cause-and-effect relationships. But they still lack a larger view of how things work. They are able to see differentpoints of view. Most of these children can understand the reasons for the breakup. Common Reactions On the outside, these children will bravely try to make the best of it. However, on the inside they often hide the distress they are feeling. They maysay they see theirnon-residential parent enough even though they don’t believe it. They maysay they don’t feel rejected when in fact they do. In part, they may deny their true feelings to avoid the residential parent’s anger. In other words, they may hear one parent expressing anger with the other parent and want to avoid upsetting this parent more than they already are. Children are then afraid to askformore time with theother parent. Taking Sides Many children at this age will take sides in the parent battle. Theymost often side with the one they spend most of their time with. They are better ableto see both sides than their younger siblings, but they still tend to see things in black and white terms (“right/wrong” instead of understanding the big picture). This results in a need to label one parent as “the good guy” and the other parent as the “villain.” This may be because they still fear that they will be left or abandoned. They do notwant to upset the parent who is their primary caregiver. Anger Children at this age may try to undo the breakup.Perhaps it is in part because theyhave no controlin the matter that they are likely to feel intense anger. Unlike their younger siblings, they are very aware of their anger. Anger is normal in the breakup of a family. Another part of it is because children get mixed messages from how the parents behave. The children are punished for bad behavior. Thenthe parents actin bador selfish ways themselves, without punishment (at leastthis is howchildren may seeit). Loss Children in this age group often believe they have more power than their younger siblings, or more than they really have. They believe they can control their own lives and the lives of their parents. They are likely to feel very let down and a sense of loss too big to deal with. They may “act out” by trying to hurt one or both of their parents, by saying mean or unkind things. They may accuse parents of changing for the worse, or acting in immoral ways. They may refusetospendtimewith theparenttheynowseeas wrong, bad, or guilty. Health Problems Children mayalso develop health complaints or problems (including infections, headaches, stomach aches, asthma, etc.). The stress the children are going through makes these problems worse.Doctors say that children from splithomescome totheir clinicsfarmore oftenthan otherchildren.

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