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Advice for recently separated or divorced parents as kids head back to school

As the days grow shorter and a chill sets in the air, children across Maryland head back to school. For many kids, the first few weeks of a new school year are stressful as they attempt to adjust to many changes. For a child who is also in the midst of dealing with the recent separation or divorce of his or her parents, the start of a new school year may be especially difficult.

Kids want and should be allowed to be just that, kids. A child whose parents have recently separated or divorced has already been subjected to many changes. It’s important, therefore, that parents take steps to provide support and stability as a child heads back to school.

In cases where a child shuttles between homes during the week or on the weekend, parents need to ensure they’re on the same page with regard to a custody or visitation schedule and also a child’s school and daily schedule. As a child starts a new school year, he or she has enough to remember and worry about without adding any extra stress. Parents, therefore, must do their best to communicate in a civil and business-like manner to coordinate their schedules and ensure a child is dropped off and picked up on time, eats healthy, completes homework assignments, gets enough sleep and has time to be a kid.

In addition to communicating with each other, recently separated or divorced parents should also communicate with their child’s school about changes to a child’s living arrangements and schedule. Being up front and communicative about changes in family dynamics and structure also helps teachers understand and keep a look out for any behavioral or academic changes or problems a child may experience.

Even a child who is doing well in school may feel confused, stressed or anxious about a recent or impending divorce. It’s important, therefore that parents maintain open communication and take the time to check in daily with a child so he or she knows they have the support and love of both parents. In cases where a parent or child is experiencing difficulties, it’s wise to consult with a counselor or psychologist.

Source: The Huffington Post, ” Separated or Recently Divorced Parents, Get Ready for a New Back-to-School Routine,” Bari Zell Weinberger, Esq., Aug. 28, 2014