Your kids’ teachers and administrators can be allies for you and your child as you go through the divorce process. They can help ease the transition for your kids by providing consistency during the school day.
However, many parents going through divorce are embarrassed to talk to teachers and others about their separation. Hiding will only make the transition harder for your child.
Keep in mind these five tips for working with your child’s school as you go through separation or divorce.
1. They’ve been through divorce before.
While this is likely your first time going through divorce, your child’s teachers have plenty of experience with how it can affect children in their classrooms. In fact, they’ve probably seen the good, the bad, and the ugly, so they welcome parents involving them and keeping the lines of communication open.
2. Teachers can help ease your child’s anxiety.
There are many unknowns during the separation process, including for the kids involved. By being made aware of the situation, teachers can assist in emphasizing the skills your child already has to handle new and different challenges. This helps to give your child confidence that everything will be okay.
3. Don’t excuse your child’s behaviors…
While teachers will be more understanding of your child’s behaviors knowing what’s going on at home, they won’t excuse unacceptable behaviors and they will hold your child accountable for his or her actions. This is in everyone’s best interest and helps to keep rules and norms consistent. Take their lead and try to do the same at home.
4. …But do keep in mind how two households can affect your child’s school day.
Packed lunches, science projects, and permission slips can all be a bit harder to juggle when doing so from two different houses. Help your child by putting systems in place that everyone – your child, co-parent, and teachers – can follow. And keep the lines of communication open with the teacher in case of slip-ups here and there.
5. Involve your co-parent.
Teachers and administrators are neutral parties for good reason. They want and need involvement from both your child’s parents. Both of you should go to conferences with the teacher, get on the same page about schedules and expectations, and keep the child from being stuck in the middle.
What are some of the strategies that have worked for you and your children?