Children of Divorce
Beginning a new school year can be a stressful experience for any student. Throw in a divorce (and all the changes that go along with it), and your child may be feeling overwhelmed. In this post, we write about some of the changes your children may experience after your divorce and how to help them through this period of adjustment.
Major Transitions for Children After Their Parents’ Divorce
In addition to grieving their parents’ separation and divorce, the major life changes that often go hand in hand with divorce can also affect your children emotionally, psychologically, and behaviorally. Some of these transitions include:
- A single-parent household. When children go from living in a two-parent home to a household run by only one person, they often have difficulty adjusting to this new way of life. Single parents often find themselves pulled in a million different directions, and your child may express feelings of loneliness and/or resist taking on new responsibilities.
- Moving to a new house (or two). During a divorce, at least one parent (and many times, both parents) must leave the family home and find a new place to live. Feeling comfortable in a new house and new neighborhood takes time. Children may have mixed feelings about this transition: excited about a “new adventure,” but still angry and sad to move away from neighborhood friends.
- Switching schools. Often a divorce means the family will have to move to a different school zone. Attending a new school can make any child feel fearful, anxious, and lonely.
Helping Your Children Return to School with Confidence
The good news is that children are incredibly resilient, and by preparing for these events, you can help your children adapt to these new changes with confidence and ease. Here are the ways you and your former spouse can support your children as they head back to school:
- Talk to your child about what to expect. We are often most afraid of the unknown, so discussing expectations and variables for each new situation can help your child feel calm and ready for anything. Help your child emotionally prepare for (and hopefully get excited about) new experiences by letting him pick out cool new school supplies or essentials for his new room.
- Keep teachers and school staff updated. Let pertinent school officials know about your child’s home life, and keep them up to date as visitation schedules, significant others, and other family situations change. If your child shows signs of trouble in school (behaviorally or academically), set up a meeting with your child’s teacher, the school guidance counselor, and both parents whenever possible.
- Co-parent with class. The best way to help your child adjust to your divorce is to maintain a united front when it comes to parenting. Your child’s education will provide many opportunities for classy co-parenting. Some divorced parents recommend using a shared Google calendar to coordinate school events, after school activities, and social invitations. Try to attend parent-teacher conferences, awards ceremonies, and other school functions together as a team. As always, never bad-mouth your ex to your child’s teachers.
Reach Out to Our Leesburg and Loudoun County VA Divorce Lawyers Today
Divorce isn’t easy on anyone, but for many families, it is for the best. Leesburg family law attorneys Whitbeck Cisneros McElroy PC can help you with divorce, child custody, child support, and other family law issues. For legal advice or assistance, contact us today.