HELPING CHILDREN MANAGE THE DIVORCE TRANSITION

Many studies suggest that divorce is correlated to student impediments in school.  Children of divorce are withdrawn, dependent, distracted, dejected, and exhibit less effort in the classroom. Sometimes children have trouble adjusting to new routines and living arrangements. They may also develop anxiety from having to share news of the divorce of their parents with classmates and friends.

One study revealed that divorce correlated with lower math scores and deficient social skills for children in first through third grade. Research further shows that children with divorced parents are twice as likely to experience grade retention and are five times more likely to be expelled or suspended from school.

Parents Should Inform Teachers of Adversities in the Home

A recent survey of 689 parents and 174 teachers revealed that teachers are uninformed by parents regarding major changes that occur in the home that lead to behavior issues at school. Parents also feel teachers do not communicate information about the behavior of their children. In the survey, 94 percent of teachers reported it is important for parents to share information about their divorce, but only 23 percent of divorcing parents disclose that information.

Since research asserts that there is a relationship between divorce and diminished student performance, parents should disclose a divorce or other family dissension to teachers. Equipped with this information, teachers can keep an eye out for uncommon or challenging behaviors in their children. An open line of communication can keep both parties informed on issues that may reflect deeper concerns within a child’s behavior.

Strategies to Help Children Cope with Divorce

Helping children through the process of divorce is one of the biggest challenges parents must face. However, by establishing an effective and healthy relationship with your ex-spouse, in addition to improving parent-teacher communication, parents can help their children get through this tough time. The following tips can also help parents ensure the life of their children is as stable as possible:

  • Inform school counselors of any new living arrangements for the children
  • Establish a set routine for homework, dinner, and bedtime
  • Set aside personal and parenting time with your children
  • Check in with your children and ask how they are feeling
Categories