If you’re a divorcing parent, one of your primary concerns is how your children are being affected by the changes to their family unit. Kids of all ages can experience a range of behavioral issues from withdrawal to acting out aggressively.
The anxiety and uncertainty in their lives can cause children and teens to have problems at school, causing their grades to drop – even to the point where they have to repeat a year or can no longer get into the college of their choice. That’s because they may have a hard time concentrating or lose the work ethic they used to have. Their behavioral issues can cause them to be suspended or even expelled.
Develop a partnership with your children’s teachers
Your divorce doesn’t have to set your children back academically. Educational experts say that when parents and teachers work together, and when other adults in their lives are looking out for them, can help keep kids on track.
You may not feel like discussing your divorce with your kids’ teachers, school counselors or coaches. However, it’s a good idea to let them know what is going on in their lives. Their teachers see your kids for hours a day, so they may see issues that they try to hide at home.
They can also see just what’s going on. Is one of your kids distracted and inattentive? Are they dozing off in class because they aren’t able to sleep at night? Are they not turning in homework assignments or projects?
Keeping the lines of communication open between school and home is key. You may need to create a plan with a teacher and perhaps a school counselor to ensure that a child’s problems don’t go unaddressed.
Consistency across households
Of course, both you and your co-parent have an important role to play if you’re sharing custody. No matter how you and your soon-to-be ex feel about each other, developing routines and expectations that are consistent across both households can help your children feel more secure that both parents will continue to be there for them.
It may be tempting (and perhaps it’s valid) to blame your co-parent for a child’s problems. However, that’s not going to help your child. Your family law attorney can help you work to negotiate parenting plan provisions that will help provide consistency for your children that will benefit them in all aspects of their lives.