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They need to grieve. Children who don't resolve this grief can become very depressed. Children are more likely to grieve if their parents grieve, so don't hide your own feelings of sadness about the divorce. This is not to say children should be overwhelmed by a sense of their parent's sadness, because they need to know someone is in control and their needs will be met. Children this age need regular, frequent contact with each parent, shielding from parental hostility, involvement of both parents in a child's life, and regular school attendance.

The schedule should allow the child to maintain contact with friends, school, and after-school activities. Some children can tolerate alternating half-weeks at each parent's home.


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Multiple overnights are usually OK and a full week at each parent's home can usually be phased in by age 8. Children should be encouraged not to carry information back and forth between homes and to talk directly with each parent about rules in that household. School age 9 - 12 years old. At these ages, children develop skills in school academics, sports, and community activities. They get to know themselves better and can evaluate their own strengths and weaknesses as compared to others.

Child custody

Children this age are able to join in discussions and have a grasp of adult issues including divorce. Commonly, year olds demand explanation. Give them basic information, but no details of unhappiness or actions of parents. Children this age are able to genuinely empathize with their parents' attitudes, feelings, and reason for divorce. The child can see the world from someone else's point of view. This leads to concern and caring about the parent's pain and can lead to the child taking care of the parent.

Children this age are also very idealistic and are starting to have moral judgements. Children this age can have relationships on an equal basis with each parent. In a divorce situation, a child's idealism can easily produce a sense of rage. Because children this age are capable of empathy, parents should use someone else for talking about their problems, daily difficulties, or the loneliness of the nights.

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While children of divorce may be given more responsibility to help the family cope with the amount of work, parents should take care to avoid burdening the child to the point of eliminating play. Children benefit when parents are able to reduce life changes for the child and reduce conflict between the parents. It is especially important for parents to maintain a regular and predictable contact with the child, even if the child is intensely angry at the parent.

They need parents to avoid blaming each other and to be honest. Children this age need involvement of both parents and are most content with several contacts a week with each parent. The schedule should be regular and predictable and minimize interference with peer relationships, school, and after-school activities. Many children desire one home base with specific evenings, weekends, and activities at the other home. Some children do well with equal contact in each home. Some children prefer less contact, maybe every other week. At this age, children need more flexibility.

Teenagers 13 - 17 years old. Younger teens are figuring out who they are in relation to friends' and society's rules. Middle teens focus on how they think and feel about themselves. They develop a sense of purpose, clarify long-term plans and values and have a growing sense of who one really is and where one is headed. Older teens are focused on taking increased responsibility for what they do and who they are. Teens also learn intimacy, which allows for openness, honesty, self-disclosure, and trust in relationships. Teens need parents' permission for independence and encouragement for taking responsibility.

They need parents to provide closeness, concern, and fairness. From age 12, children are usually able to understand the divorce process and separate themselves from their parents' actions and reactions. Teens are capable of forming an independent opinion about where and with whom they want to live. This opinion should be considered but not necessarily followed. Some teens pick the parent who leaves as the enemy and some blame the remaining parent for not being lovable or supportive enough. Teens often act as though they can handle anything and that divorce is no big deal.

Teens are the last to admit being needy and act as if they don't care what their parents do. A stance of fierce independence is likely to mislead parents into believing that the teen needs less support than is actually the case. Teens do well when both parents stay involved with them, when parents don't start acting like teens, when parents don't involve teens in parent worries, and don't expose teens to parents' sexuality.

Teens need protection, a lot of encouragement, recognition of real and honest effort, and a sense they are lovable as they are -- not for what they do.

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It is important that parents not handle their own guilt by becoming extra permissive toward their children. Remind teens a variety of behaviors for adults are not acceptable for teens. Teens need some say in planning the schedule. Teens do not need contact of long duration with either parent and flexibility in shared parenting is required.

Ohio Shared Parenting

Contact once or twice each week for an hour or more may be enough. Some teens need one home base with regular and predictable evenings, weekends, and activities at the other home. Some teens prefer a more equal basis with each parent. Maintain accessibility to school, peers, after-school, and community involvements from both homes.

Unilateral divorce vs. child custody and child support in the U.S. - Munich Personal RePEc Archive

A teen who has primarily lived with one parent commonly wants to move in with the other parent. It is also common for a teen who has gone back and forth between homes to desire one home base. My children are fine School Age 6 - 8 years old -- red flags for parents. School Age 9 - 12 years old -- red flags for parents. Teenagers 13 - 17 years old -- red flags for parents. My children are stressed out What can I do?


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Love and Care for your Children -- Nurturing Children. Caught in the Middle. Garrity, Carla B. Haralambie, Ann M. Baris, Mitchell A. Reconciling the Primary Caretaker Preference. California Joint Custody Retrospective. Joint Custody and the Preschool Child. References and Bibliography. He is the immediate past president of the Academy of Family Mediators.

Custody Overview. The Needs. A Canadian.


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