Switching Schools is Difficult for Children of Divorce

7th March 2017 | By | Reply More

For children of divorce, routines can be a safety net, which allows individuals to escape the harsh realities of parental discord. They seek comfort in the mundane, day-to-day activities of school, but for many children of divorce, their lives are being upended through moving to a new house and switching to a new school.

It’s important to remind the children that while their living situation and school may change, they still are your top priority. The hope is that this concept will be enforced in both co-parenting households, but you can only control your own. Staying positive will give your child the comfort they need during this ever-changing time in their lives.

Emotions and behaviour

When switching schools, it can be beneficial to inform teachers at the new school of what is going on in your children’s lives.  A teacher can provide a lot of insight as to how a child is handling the adjustment of divorce. This allows new teachers to monitor the complex emotions of a child of divorce, as well as adjust her own teaching styles to fit their needs.

According to the academy, children’s behaviour, appearance, and emotions are significantly affected by parental divorce, and teachers should be aware of the following behaviours:

  • If a child has issues concentrating
  • If a child develops low self-esteem
  • If a child gains or loses a lot of weight
  • If a child behaves inappropriately outside of the classroom
  • If a child seems more noisy and disruptive in the classroom than usual
  • If a child avoids completing homework tasks on a regular basis
  • If a child seems more depressed and quiet in the classroom than usual
  • If a child underachieves in the classroom, or seems disinterested in their work

Identifying what to look for in the behaviours of children of divorce will allow parents to adjust their parenting styles to fit the needs of the children involved. Parents and teachers should confide in one another, in the best interests of the children.

Expectations and change

While information might be beneficial in knowing the behaviours of the children at school, it’s also important to make sure that they are prepared for the changes in schools. It can be beneficial for the children involved if both co-parents stay communicative with the children regarding their situation. This can allow a consistent dialogue regarding their concerns, fears, and hopes heading into a new school and a new school year.

Depending on their ages, their ability to express these feelings may be limited, but it still is important to try. They cannot go through this experience alone, which is why you need them to tell you, as a parent, how they feel throughout this process. Staying involved in your children’s school life can be challenging within the balances of life, but it’s beneficial to the child’s well-being and future.

It also can help in your custody case. Staying active as a parent looks good to any court, and if problems arise in any form, the courts can feel comfortable knowing that the children have at least one active and responsible parent in their lives.

New friends

It’s also important that the children form bonds within the new school. Making friends at a new school can be challenging enough, without accounting for divorce. Depending on the emotions of the individual child, being open to making friends is impossible to predict.

However, as a parent, you might be able to encourage your child to participate in a school activity, like a club or a sport, where they will inevitably meet kids and make friends. Facilitating bonds with other kids through encouraging activities or hosting play dates will help stabilize their lives.

However, if there is more than one child involved, make sure to keep an eye on both of their schedules. Prioritizing one child over another can result in forms of alienation that a co-parent can take advantage of, which would create more turmoil for the children involved to deal with.

Custody issues

Creating opportunities for your children to succeed in their education is a primary goal in switching schools. If you feel that their education would be better served elsewhere, whether or not you can affect change either way is dependent on the custody arrangement. In instances where custody is shared, both parents must agree on the major decisions for the children.

If the two parents cannot agree, then everything stays the same until whichever co-parent requesting a change, requests a hearing with a judge, in order to reach a decision.

In the interest of the children, however, it is more beneficial to come to an amicable solution that benefits them, rather than the co-parents. While their education is an important factor in shaping the rest of their lives, it is not the only one. Creating stability in a new situation both a school and at home is important in fostering the comfort they need to succeed.

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This article, written by Dan Pearce, originally appeared on www.mensdivorce.com

Posted by Sinta Ebersohn (Creator of fairdivorce.co.za – Stellenbosch RSA)


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Category: Children, Mental, Perspectives, Practical, Resilience, School

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