blog home Divorce Back-to-School after Divorce: What Parents Can Learn from Teachers, Part 1

Back-to-School after Divorce: What Parents Can Learn from Teachers, Part 1

By Nottage and Ward on August 24, 2012

As experienced divorce attorneys at Nottage and Ward, we recognize that divorce impacts you, your ex, and your children, and how you handle your divorce and co-parenting can make that impact minor or severe, positive or negative. While divorce most directly affects you and your children, another group of people can also see how a divorce, and your handling of the divorce, impacts your children: teachers. From observing great collaboration and cooperation between parents to observing one parent use their child to get back at the other, teachers see well-adjusted children and children who are acting out and being emotionally torn apart.

This two-part blog series offers parents advice from the perspective of teachers, who have to handle more issues and situations than people realize. A group of teachers gave The Huffington Post the following tips for divorced parents, based on their own experiences with children (and parents) in their classrooms:

  1. Do not attempt to “buy” your child’s love. Whether out of guilt or for the purpose of revenge against your ex, purchasing toys, clothes, and even cars, does not show love and may lead to attitudes of entitlement that could hurt their future success and happiness.
  2. Do not make excuses for your child’s poor behavior. Going through a divorce or not, every child must be taught how to conduct themselves properly. It’s not a healthy way of “dealing with the divorce.” Children must be held accountable for inappropriate or bad behavior.
  3. Be confident. Tell your child that everything will be okay. Remind them about how smart they are and how quickly they make friends. Your child needs strength and confidence, even amidst all the changes happening in your life, otherwise your own anxiety will rub off on your child.
  4. Don’t keep big secrets from your ex, especially regarding your kids. Whether it is a new love interest or a plan to move away, your ex deserves to know what is going on in their child’s life. Open and honest communication between you and your ex can make sure your child is also open and honest and does not shut down emotionally.
  5. Come up with a plan for school-related tasks. Learning to work together for the sake of your child is one of the most important things to accomplish. Refusing to attend a parent conference because you don’t want to be in the same room as your ex is not in the best interests of your child. At the very least, both parents should have specific responsibilities regarding their child’s education.

Please visit our blog next time for the second and last installment to our Back-to-School after Divorce blog series.

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