Parenting Considerations for The Middle School-Aged Child (11 to 13 Years) in Divorce & Dissolution Cases.
The middle school years typically pose a challenge for parents. Seemingly overnight, their relatively eager-to-please child awakens to question every family decision and take issue with standing house rules.
Peers seem to replace the parents as authority figures.
With as much patience as they can muster, parents need to view these challenges as part of normal development and gently steer their child through this awkward age.
The following needs to be considered in divorce and dissolution cases involving Middle School Aged Children:
- Is the parent able to contain hostility and negative discussion about the separation in the presence of the child?
- Does the parent recognize the younger adolescent’s sensitivity to criticism at this stage of self-doubt?
- Is the parent aware of the child’s need for close peer relationships and their intense interest in belonging to a peer group?
- How flexible and supportive is the parent of peer relationships and activities?
- Is the parent aware of the child’s school functioning?
- Is the parent involved with teacher conferences?
- Is the parent aware of any special learning needs and addressing them?
- How does the parent help the child remain organized and have a predictable study area and time, particularly between households?
- How does the parent include the younger adolescent in setting limits, deciding consequences, and ensuring enforcement?
- Does the parent know the younger adolescent’s friends and friends’ parents?
- How does the parent utilize this network to address and handle any safety concerns?
- How does each parent support the child’s relationship with the other parent?
- Has the parent attended a research-based parenting skills training program?
- If a parent is diagnosed with a substance abuse disorder or psychiatric disorder, has he or she sought treatment?
- If so, what has been the outcome of treatment?