This period is also known as the “pre-teen years,” as these children are preparing to make the leap into puberty and adolescence. They have a greater capacity to understand time, to appreciate future plans and schedules, and to balance different values and parental practices that might exist in their two residences. Children this age tend to be rule bound and may align themselves with one parent. If your child refuses to see the other parent, you should seek assistance from a professional family counselor.
Ten to twelve year olds should be encouraged to engage in a variety of activities outside the home. Such participation helps children develop social and intellectual skills in preparation for the greater independence and demands of adolescence. Parents should allow their children to express feelings about the need for greater control over their own time while making it clear that parents make the final decisions. Balancing time with parents, friends and activities requires flexibility and commitment to maintaining a strong relationship with both parents. Parental support of increased independence will contribute to the child’s self-esteem and self-confidence.