When you decide that it is time to end your marriage, if you have children, it is going to have a significant impact on their lives and their development. When parents separate and establish new households and then move on to new partners, it can be challenging for your children to process all the changes while keeping up with all the demands of their lives.
Tell your child about the impending divorce before you tell their teacher
Before you break the news to your child, they are likely very much aware that something is going on between the two of you. Children are incredibly perceptive, and they can sense when things are not as they should be. Once you have told your children about the divorce and how their life is about to change, you might consider letting their teachers at school know what is going on at home. Getting a divorce is going to have an impact on your children’s behavior at school. Depending on their age and their level of emotional maturity they may begin to act out to get attention, their grades may begin to slip and they may seem distracted in classroom activities.
Keeping your child’s teachers abreast of what is happening at home will help them understand when they see uncharacteristic changes in your children’s behavior. You do not need to share all the salacious details about your split. Just share the facts that they need to know such as where your child will be living, and who will be picking them up after school if that is going to change.
Parents and teachers need to improve how they communicate with one another
A story in the Los Angeles Times quoted a study about parent-teacher communication and how it needs to be improved. In a survey of 689 parents and 174 teachers, researchers discovered that teachers feel as if parents are not communicating with them about the major changes in the home that will affect the child in the classroom. For their part, parents felt as it teachers were not sharing details with them about how their child was behaving in school. In the study, about 94% of teachers felt that it is important for parents to inform them about divorce, but only 23% of divorcing parents in the survey said that they told their child’s teacher about their divorce.
Make sure that you and your co-parent communicate with the school and with your child’s teacher about changes in who will drop off, pick up, who is authorized to pick your child up in the event of an emergency, and if there are any changes in your contact information. If you need to ask the teacher to make sure that copies of any notices get sent home to both households make those arrangements. Many schools in the area have email contact with parents or websites which contain information. Both parents should be on the email list and keep up with all activities and information on any websites.
Divorce is common enough, and teachers understand that children react in different ways to change. The school may even offer services and help with the school guidance counselor. You need to communicate clearly with your child’s teacher about the changes at home that will affect your child at school.
At Divorce Mediation Associates, we support you as you move through the divorce mediation process. If you have questions, or if you would like to schedule an appointment to learn about the services we provide, you are welcome to call 703-665-7592, or use our contact form.