It's That Time of Year: Back to School Time!

Can you believe that it’s time to start getting ready for back to school! This can be a bittersweet moment for all involved but it can also become a stressful time if you are going through a divorce. Divorce can wreak havoc on all those involved but it can cause children to go through a very stressful start to school. There are some ways to help ease both children and parents during this change as school begins. By keeping these items in mind, everyone can go through this process with a positive outcome.

First and foremost, be sure to keep the focus on the children. Divorce can have ugly outcomes and bring out the worst in some parents. However, both parents should keep the focus on what’s best for the children. If you keep that thought in mind then it will make for an easier transition to school. The parents should put aside their differences and be on the same page regarding the support of the children. I know, this can be easier said than done, but if parents struggle with this then the child will suffer. If both parents are on the same page, then this can give them something positive to focus on during this difficult time. Good communication and coordination is key during this time. Both parents need to focus on:

  • Who has homework and when is it due?
  • Who needs to sign any permission slips?
  • Who will attend parent/teacher conferences?
  • Who will help with behavior issues?

Secondly, to answer those questions, parents need to come up with a plan. Parents need to put aside their differences and make a plan when working with their children and school. Both parents need to be on the same page when it comes to all things school related. When expectations regarding homework are consistent with both parents, then neither parent can be put against each other by the children. It helps the children when they know what the expectations are, regardless of which parent’s house they stay. They can have a snack while they work but it needs to be consistent at both homes. There also needs to be a plan regarding electronic time. If one parent wants to cut their time to two hours a day during the school year, then it would be in the best interest for both households to have the same rule (or the parents need to find a compromise). The same goes for after-school activities. Parents need to be on the same page with how many after-school activities the children can participate in. Again, communication and coordination is key. If both parents can’t be in the same area together without causing issues, then choose what games/shows which parent will attend. It would also help if there is a back-up plan incase something comes up and the parent that is supposed to attend can’t. Having these routines in place will help the children have a positive academic experience. Children can to take out their frustrations on others in school and can negatively affect their academics since they will see that as the least of their problems. It is important to keep this routine throughout their school years, especially during middle and high school. This is the time where they are trying to figure out who they are and already are going through life changes. Routines can change as the children grow, however, both parents need to stay on the same page in order to continue their child’s success.

Finally, it is important to remember consistency is the key. Even though everyone’s life has been uprooted, try to keep anything regarding the children consistent. This will help them navigate this new change and keep them from acting out. Listen to your children, even if they are younger, and let them know that both parents will remain on their side. Be sure to hold your children accountable. Even with a stressful change, children still need to be held to the same expectations and discipline they normally would as if there was no divorce. Children are smarter than we give them credit and will take the inch you give and make it a mile. Yes, they are going through a stressful time but that doesn’t mean you can let them slide on homework, behavior, or any other issues that normally come with life. If you do, this will set them up for failure in the future. Parents need to keep communication going to let the other parent know what is going on when they are not with the children. There is no such thing as too much communication. Try to keep it about what is in the best interest of the children without judging/blaming. There will be times where the emotions will come out but be aware that both parents need to focus on the needs of the child and not what parent benefits. Make it a point to set aside your differences and determine a schedule that fits everyone’s needs when it comes to the time each parent spends with the children. When determining the schedule, be sure to avoid putting the children in the middle of each other. No child should go through their parent’s divorce feeling as though they have to choose a side.

For more information, visit https://www.greatschools.org/gk/articles/kids-divorce-and-school-success/

To schedule a consultation with an experienced family law attorney at Tom Bush Law Group, please call us at 704-347-0110.

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