What Every Intermediate School Child Needs To Know About Divorce
Intermediate School children can benefit from direct therapeutic intervention, such as counseling and especially
divorce groups. They need to be told that adults are to take responsibility for adult problems, such as divorce. It
is not their job to earn a living, be a parent or hold the family together. Children often feel that it is their
responsibility to hold things together.
What Parents, Grandparents and Other Adult Relatives Can Do
The adults in the child’s life can take the child to therapy, seek out appropriate books and reading material on
divorce that can help the child understand and navigate the choppy waters of divorce. Grandparents, aunts
and uncles can issue invitations to visit and to help the child identify positive activities to participate in. It is a life
preserver for the child to know that other adults are looking out for them and that other adults will help take
care of the adult responsibilities.
What Teachers and Schools and Community Resources Can Do
Teachers are often the first ones to be aware of decreased school performance and peer relationships.
Teachers, school counselors and police are often the first to spot conduct disturbances. Likewise, doctors,
nurses, and school health officials may be the first to spot somatic symptoms, such as an increase in
stomachaches or headaches. These changes in behavior, social patterns and health are often the first clues
that things are not right with the child. Deteriorating situations at home or divorce should be explored as the
source of these changes. Timely intervention can prevent bigger problems later.
Directing the child to therapy and to positive after school activities can make a big difference in the child’s life
and provide an avenue of escape and refuge from the turmoil of family conflict and breakup.