Going through a divorce is difficult for any family, but when child custody is an issue, especially at the start of a new school year, some kids feel extra pressure that could cause them to struggle. Even when divorced parties don't get along perfectly, it is important for parents to come together as much as possible to make sure kids get the support they need, especially during back-to-school time. Kids' lives have to go on, and school is important.
No matter where divorced parents stand with each other, they should always be sensitive to the needs of their children. Professionals suggest parents should look for any changes in their kids' behavior, whether they are acting out or becoming too withdrawn. They should spend time with them and let them know that they are available to listen to any questions the kids might have. Kids also need to be assured that they are not at fault for the divorce. Many children can benefit from some outside counseling from a neutral party.
While there will certainly be aspects in post-divorce life that parents cannot always control, they should try to keep as much structure in their kids' lives as possible. It is healthy for kids to participate in the activities they are used to and for parents to keep them accountable for their regular chores. Parents should not ask a child to side with them against the other parent or make their kids vehicles for communication between parents.
By keeping life as normal as possible, with honest communication and an awareness of the outside help that is available, parents can get their kids through divorce in a healthy way. It can be easy to forget that there is life outside of the big transition of divorce, but school is important for children. Parents need to keep that in mind and do all they can to create a healthy present and future for their kids.
Huffington Post: "Heading Back to School? Putting Your Children's Best Interest First," Deborah Moskovitch, Aug. 25, 2011