Divorce is a difficult experience for any family, but it can be especially tough on children. When parents go through a divorce, the school can be a valuable resource in helping children adjust to the change, as well as providing parents with additional resources and support to help their kids. However, to put it simply, the school needs you to "help them help you." They can't provide additional support for your family without knowing first that you need it. Here are some tips on how to reach out to your child's school for support after a divorce.
Talk to the School Counselor
The school counselor is a valuable resource for parents and children to adjust to a divorce. They can provide support and counseling for both kids and parents and resources for dealing with the transition. If you're not already in contact with your child's school counselor, reach out and introduce yourself. Let them know you're going through a divorce and would appreciate any support or resources they can offer.
Inform the Teacher
Your child's teacher is also a great resource for dealing with the aftermath of a divorce. Keep them in the loop about what's happening at home, and let them know if there are any changes in your child's behavior or performance that they should be aware of. Getting the teacher involved in your child's transition can be very helpful because they spend more time during the day with your child than you do and can tailor your child's learning experience around what they are going through. For example, they may be able to give your child "journaling time" to write or draw their feelings or hold a class discussion about divorce (since there are likely more kids in class than just your child who have gone through it). Finally, ensure your child's teacher is looped into any communication plan with you and your ex. (For example, if you're co-parenting, the teacher can send home separate notes for both parents or add both of you to the automated communications system.)
Get Involved in the School Community
Schools often offer many programs and activities to help children adjust to a divorce, such as peer mediation or support groups. Getting involved in these programs can be a great way for parents to support their children and connect with other families going through a similar experience.
Communicate Key Details to School Administration
Finally, be sure to keep the school administration updated on any key changes in your family situation, such as a change in custody arrangements, parental rights, or contact information. It's important for the school to have this information so that they can make sure both parents are properly communicated with. It's also important for security reasons—for example, they need to know which parent will pick up the child on which day or if the child shouldn't be released to the other parent for any other reason.
The often-quoted expression "it takes a village" especially applies in a divorce. By reaching out to your child's school and getting them involved, you'll be tapping into a valuable resource that can make the transition smoother for you and your children. Similarly, at Jerkins Family Law, our goal is to provide the legal support you need during your divorce so you can focus more on the details of getting a new start in life. Call us today at (919) 719-2785 for an appointment, or contact us online.