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Considerations if you’re divorcing while parenting a tween

On Behalf of | Apr 3, 2024 | Family Law

Divorcing while parenting a tween is a unique experience. Tweens, who are between 9 and 12, are at a crucial developmental stage where they’re navigating the complexities of pre-adolescence. They are forming their identities and craving independence. However, they still require guidance and support. A divorce can significantly impact this delicate balance, affecting their emotional and psychological well-being.

Understanding and addressing the specific needs of your tween during this transition can help mitigate negative impacts. It can foster a positive environment for their growth and adjustment now and moving forward.

Communication, stability and input

Maintaining open lines of communication right now is important. Tweens are capable of understanding more complex situations than younger children, but they also may be more sensitive to conflict. Explain the divorce in age-appropriate terms, focusing on the changes that will directly affect them. You may have to reassure them of your love and support repeatedly, and that’s okay.

Tweens thrive on stability and routine, which can be disrupted by a divorce. Strive to maintain consistency in daily routines, schooling and extracurricular activities when possible. Coordinating with your co-parent to keep routines as stable as possible across both households can be beneficial, again, when possible and appropriate.

Additionally, you’ll want to keep in mind that allowing your tween some involvement in decisions that affect them can help them feel valued and heard. Whether they’re concerned about parenting time schedules or living arrangements, giving them a voice (within reason and without burdening them with adult decisions) can ease the transition and build trust.

Finally, recognizing and validating your tween’s emotions is also particularly important right now. They might experience a range of feelings, from anger to sadness, and may not always express these emotions constructively. Encourage open expression.

Navigating divorce is never easy, and it isn’t easy on kids, regardless of their age or insistence that they’re “fine.” By keeping your child’s developmental needs can help you be there for them as effectively as possible both now and into the future.