Children ages nine through twelve suffer a wide range of effects. One of the most devastating is the development of a poor self-esteem.
"That's the age when they begin to try to define who they are," says Dr. Bob Barnes. "That's the critical age for self-esteem, the age when they wonder how valuable they are, when they start to place blame and they look for somebody to blame this divorce on.
"That's the age when they may step into behaviors that are way beyond them—when the preteen boy thinks he's the man of the house and the preteen girl gets a little distant from Mom and is even sexually precocious.
"That's the age of dreams. They dream the other parent is coming home one day, and they wonder how they can make that happen. That's the age when they say they want to live with the other parent, partly to spark a reaction from the custodial parent and partly to see if the other parent will take them in."
Perhaps your children are exhibiting some of the behaviors Dr. Barnes describes above. Always persevere in love, giving them your time and positive attention. Before you react to things they say and do, think about their possible motivations and underlying fears. Listen to your children. Model for them how to love, how to forgive, and how to rely on God when life becomes overwhelming. God is a constant presence and strength for both you and your children.
"So we say with confidence, 'The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?'" (Hebrews 13:6).