Once the divorce is finalized, it may be difficult for both parties to envision themselves being on the same team, but this is precisely what is needed when it comes to your children going back to school. No matter how bitter or divisive the divorce proceedings have been, it’s important to set aside your differences and put your children and their needs first. Find out how you can consider both their emotional needs and their practical needs with the following tips.
Children can act out
Some children express negative emotions that result from the divorce through fighting, defiance and other actions. While there needs to be room given for children to work through their feelings, parents, teachers and school administrators need to have a plan in place for how to address conduct that is concerning, out of control or dangerous to themselves and others. Parents need to be proactive and let the relevant school faculty know about the divorce ahead of time and discuss what to do when there are behavior issues. Some children may benefit from professional counseling, and it should be available for those that need it.
Dealing with peers
Depending on the area, your children may be the only ones in their class whose parents are divorced. They may feel ostracized, out of place or embarrassed. Curious classmates may ask questions that make them uncomfortable. Make sure you discuss this with your children and equip them with responses that give them a sense of empowerment.
Regardless of which parent has custody, there needs to be a commitment to inclusion from day one. Both parents should have equal access to information about the children’s important events, academic progress and school-related projects. A shared calendar is a great way to make sure both parents are fully informed. Order enough school pictures for two sets and share them with the other parent.
Parents need to be able to set aside differences to communicate about school-related issues. Commit to keeping lines of communication open.
Although back-to-school expenses are often included in a divorce agreement, make sure that there is a pre-determined budget for particular items so that one parent isn’t forced to split the cost of extravagant purchases that only the other parent can afford. Divide the cost of back-to-school purchases fifty-fifty according to the budget but also allow either parent to splurge and go over budget for a special jacket, backpack or pair of shoes while covering the extra expense.
Children need to see you stand together for important moments. You should both be there for the first day of school, plays, parent-teacher conferences and other important events. Although you don’t have to sit together, your child shouldn’t feel like you can only be on opposite ends of the same room. Try to set aside your differences for public displays of solidarity and keep your negative feelings toward one another behind closed doors. It will make your children happy, and that should be what’s important.
Bergman Family Law Can Help
If you have questions about custody or getting a divorce, Bergman Family Law can help. Bergman Family Law helps residents of Florida with divorce, post-judgment modifications, alimony, child support and other aspects of family law. Find out how Bergman Family Law can help you make sure your children’s back-to-school experience goes as smoothly as possible. Contact Bergman Family Law today.