Continuing with the theme of our previous post, Designing a Workable Parent Plan, today’s post talks about the impact of divorce upon children at different stages in their development and how that can affect your parent plan. What you need to cover in a plan for a young child is different from what you might need to take into account for a teen. According to developmental psychologist Erik Erikson, understanding development stages of children is essential in designing a parent plan.

  • Infancy: Birth to 18 months–Trust issues are primary at this age. It’s important the child has attachment with both parents.
  • Early Childhood: 18 months to 3 years: This age consists of many physical and social changes. Predictable schedules and supporting the relationship with the other parent can make exchanges easier.
  • Preschoolers: Age 3 to 5 years: Child will begin to ask “Why?  As the child becomes more comfortable moving between two homes, additional time and one or two overnights may be added.
  • Early School Age: 6-9 years This is a time of rapid learning and new skills. At this stage, the parents should try to limit the number of transitions between households. It is important to maintain consistency.
  • Later School Years; 10-12 years: This age group can do well with many parenting plans as long as they provide frequent contact with both parents.
  • Early Adolescence: 13 to 15years: At this stage, children are discovering who they are in the wider society. They will have strong significant relationships with their peer group. It is appropriate for the adolescent to negotiate their time directly with each parent.
  • Late Adolescence 16-18 years: Gradual and healthy separation from both parents is common. While struggling to become independent, however, there is still a need for consistency, support and meaningful time with both parents.

If you have questions about Divorce, Divorce Mediation or parent plans, contact Carol Delzer for a Mediation session Info@FamilyLawCenter.US.