When summer vacation is over and it is time for children to go back to school, parents who are in the middle of a divorce can find this time of year especially difficult. It is important to handle any psychological issues that may arise for your children as a result of the divorce and seeing classmates again, as well as to deal with more pragmatic issues concerning the child’s schedule and parenting time. For some couples, the decision to get divorced might have been made over the summer when the kids did not have to grapple with some of the major issues involved in the dissolution of marriage. Once school is back in session, it is important to consider the ways in which your divorce can affect your child and his or her success in school.
The following are some tips for newly divorced parents from an article in Divorce Magazine for handling the back-to-school period.
Inform Your Child’s Teacher(s) About the Divorce
Whether you have a child in elementary school or high school, it is a good idea to let your child’s teacher(s) and school know about the divorce, regardless of how old your children are. Teachers are often in a unique position to recognize any emotional struggles that a student might have. For example, a teacher might notice if a student’s behavior changes or if he or she requires more discipline than usual.
When a teacher sees these signs, he or she can consider underlying issues related to the divorce and can get in touch with the parents. In addition, the teacher can talk to the child to learn more about the child’s emotional state with regard to the divorce.
Plan for Answering Questions from Friends at School
Kids who have divorcing parents often are anxious about how they will tell their friends that their parents are getting divorced, and how they will respond to questions about the divorce from their peers. As such, it is important for parents to make a plan with their children for discussing or responding to any questions about the divorce that might come from their peers. Your child should know that it is okay if she or he does not want to answer any questions, and if that is the case, you can work with your child on declining.
Simply understanding what your child’s anxieties are about returning to school after the divorce can help you to help them plan ahead.
Make Sure Your Child Knows She Can Still See Her Old Friends
Sometimes divorce means that children will start at a new school in a new district. They often worry about whether they can still see or be in touch with old friends from before the divorce. It is important for kids to know that divorce does not mean they are giving up relationships with older friends. Children should also know that changing schools will not change their relationship with either parent.
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