Parents across the country are counting down the days until school is back in session. Although parents everywhere may be excited that their children are headed back to the classroom, some find themselves in new territory.
For some parents, this may be the first year their children are heading back to school after completion of a divorce.
Post divorce life and children: Making the transition back to school
The prospect of managing the back to school craze along with the transition into parenting after divorce may seem overwhelming. Here are three tips to ease this transition:
- Communicate with the teachers. It may be a good idea to let your child's teacher know that you are going through or are recently divorced. This provides the teacher an opportunity to support the child as well. You can open up the conversation now with the intention that the teacher will be more comfortable letting you know if there are any behavioral or academic concerns within the classroom. This can help you both to address any issues early on, before they become real problems. This could also be a good time to request duplicate information get sent home - like report cards.
- Communicate with your ex. It is important that both parents remain updated on the school requirements, events, extracurricular activities and other happenings during the school year. If at all possibly, it is generally best both parents be involved in the child's life. If you can have these conversations with ex in person and remain cordial, great. If not, there are other options. Thankfully, we live in the age of the Internet. Almost everything is online. Consider putting together a family calendar that you can both access and keep each other updated this way.
- Remember, they are just kids. It doesn't matter if the children are starting preschool or their senior year of high school, kids are kids. Even kids that look like adults. These children, although they may be taller than you, have not had the chance to develop coping mechanisms. As a result, it is important that you recognize that these large kids are still kids and may need some help developing the skills they need to handle this transition.
In some cases, these steps and the natural ability to learn as you go allow for a smooth transition into the school year. In others, it may become apparent that the child custody arrangement agreed upon during the divorce does not work. Although not always easy to change, these agreements can be modified.
If you are considering a modification, it is a good idea to reach out to a family lawyer to discuss your options.