It is back to school time! Whether your children are starting back up in August or September, it is never too early to start preparing. Follow these tips for sending your children back to school as a divorced parent:
1. Tell Teachers About the Divorce
Even if you do not notice any ways that the divorce is affecting your child, a teacher may. Children do spend about 35 hours in school per week during the school year. This is an abundance of time and stimulation where your child may show signs that the divorce is affecting them. A teacher can help your child with their emotions and warn you of anything going on so that you know how to handle it at home and/or with a professional.
2. Plan with Your Children How to Answer Questions from Their Peers
If another child asks your kid about the divorce, you do not want your child to feel targeted or confused. Coach your children on ways that they can politely deflect any questions that they do not feel comfortable answering.
3. Reassure Your Children That They Will Still See Old Friends and Their Other Parent
If one of the parents with custody has moved to a location in another school district, it is important to remind your children that they will be able to see their old friends again. You should also reassure your child that they will still be able to spend quality time with their other parent and that it is okay to miss them.
4. Allow Your Child to Feel Emotions Such as Loss
Studies show that it takes about one year for a child to come to terms with their parent’s divorce. Depending on the child and the situation, it may take more or less time. Unless you are noticing severe adjustment problems, you should give your child at least six months to one year to adjust to the divorce.
5. Seek Professional Help if Necessary
If your child’s mental health is declining, you need to seek professional help. Warning signs your child is not coping well include:
- The decline of school grades.
- Losing friends or suddenly hanging out with a new group of troubled kids.
- Displaying substantial changes in behavior such as intense anger, lying, cheating, or stealing.
- Loss of sleep, eating disorders, unexplained headaches, or substance abuse.