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Avoid post-divorce problems when kids go back to school

If a life-changing event occurred in your child's life over the summer, especially a stressful one such as divorce, it's always best to inform his or her teachers ahead of time. This way, when your son or daughter returns to school, the faculty is aware that this particular student is dealing with some personal life issues at home that may adversely affect his or her academic performance.

Working closely with your co-parent during back-to-school season can help your children adapt to their new lifestyle in a healthy manner. It may also help you avoid child custody or other legal problems. No matter how willing to cooperate and compromise you are, if the other parent is not equally putting forth effort, back-to-school season may be difficult to navigate. That's why it's important to build a strong support network from the start.

Help your kids prepare

Your children might have a few close friends who are already aware of your divorce. However, when they return to school, they might be worried about the impact the lifestyle change might have in their school life. 

It's best to have a family meeting before school starts. Talk to your kids about certain issues that might come up and ask how they're feeling. If they have questions, answer them as honestly and succinctly as possible. Meeting as a whole family to talk about the upcoming school year lets your kids know they have both parents' support.

Work out a co-parenting plan

You and your ex can avoid a lot of nastiness if you discuss back-to-school season ahead of time. Will you both attend special events at school so your kids experience both parents under the same roof from time to time? Is your relationship far too contentious at this point to attempt such a feat?

As parents, you'll need to find a way to interact for the sake of your kids. If your ex is impeding your parent/child relationships in any way, you can bring the matter to the court's attention. Using an online calendar to keep track of school events and other issues is a good idea. You might also want to consider attending parent/teacher conferences together.

Signs of coping trouble

If your child's teacher sends a note home saying he or she doesn't seem to be doing well in class, it may definitely be connected to your divorce. However, children are highly adaptable and when co-parents act civil and adhere to court orders for the sake of their kids, many children fare quite well in their post-divorce lifestyles.

Never hesitate to reach out for support if a particular child custody or back-to-school issue is causing problems for you or your kids. Minnesota school counselors, family support groups and legal advocates who are experienced in dealing with family law situations can be great assets as you and your children adjust to a new school year after a summer divorce.

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