Preteens are generally between the ages of 9 to 12 years old. In terms of behaviour, it’s common to see children in this age group doing more in activities in school, hanging out with friends more frequently, attending birthdays, playing sports, joining clubs, and participating in events.
In terms of personality, children this age are becoming more social and actually begin to understand more about relationships, especially between adults. It’s important to note that while this age group may understand what a divorce or separation means, they may have difficulty with the emotional impact this may have.
If you notice any change in behaviour with your children, such as social withdrawal, it’s important to talk to them. Just because they are old enough to understand what a divorce is generally, that doesn’t mean they fully grasp what it will mean for your family.
As children begin to understand the changes that are happening to the family, your actions will be more noticeable than your words. Parents should discuss a parenting plan between themselves so they can present a united front to their children. Sometimes counselling can be a good idea as well. It doesn’t have to be a formal counselling experience, but letting children know that a trusted adult is there for them – whether that be you, or other trusted adults such as a teachers, aunts and uncles who will listen – can be helpful.
If you are currently going through a divorce and separation, and need guidance on how to handle parenting with a former spouse, it’s best advised to consult a family lawyer. He or she can provide you with guidance on how to make sure both parties are putting the child’s interests first.