Divorced parents may find themselves in a unique situation when their children go back to school. When parents are no longer together, important information about children is not as easily conveyed as it may have been when everyone lived under the same roof. As a result, there may be gaps in a parent’s knowledge as to what is going on in a child’s life and how he or she is doing.
Parents who seek to be involved in their children’s lives are eager for information, so if communication between divorced parents is not solid, tension can arise. Because these issues may inspire long-term frustration for everyone involved if left unresolved, parents should proactively work through any contentious issues as their child starts school up again.
When in doubt about how to approach parental communication and issues up for debate, always return to the standard of what is best for the children. This standard is what a court will seek to uphold, should unresolved issues be brought before a judge. As a result, this standard will almost always provide a parent with guidance as to what to do. Setting aside issues that parents have in order for the children to remain balanced should be an important goal.
Parents should ideally communicate before the child starts school about the routine that he or she will follow. This plan should address who will be responsible for picking the child up on what days and who will get the child ready in the morning. Having a solid routine and sticking with it will give the child structure. Explaining the routine to the child is crucial, so that he or she will know what to expect and will ultimately feel more secure as a result.
Parents should also make sure that they maintain open communication with each other as time moves forward. For example, both parents should be informed when a parent teacher conference is coming up, how a child does on tests and what event the child has for the upcoming week. It is almost always in the child’s best interest to have both parents involved and this can only happen when parents set aside their differences to be open and supportive of a child’s relationship with the other parent.
Parents also should notify their child’s school of the recent divorce and update any contact information. It is important that the school know whom to call when the child is sick and who may pick the child up. Making the school aware of a recent divorce also can help the school help the child. Sometimes children have difficulty understanding divorce and they may experience emotional changes. Some schools may have special programs for these children, or offer special counseling so they are able to get the extra support that they need.
Divorce can make for an emotional roller coaster for all of those involved. When the situation gets tough, relying on the help of an experienced family law attorney is always a safe bet. In order to handle the situation in a way that is as painless as possible for both parents and children, contacting such an attorney may be a step in the right direction when a parent is in need.