Are you in the process of divorce? Do you worry how it will affect your child in school?
There are many variables that affect how separation and divorce in a family affect children in the classroom depending on the age and temperament of the child and how long the divorcing process has been going on. Hopefully the parents have informed the teacher early on so that the teacher is sensitive to the child’s reactions.
Tips for Meeting with the Teacher
There is no reason for the environment in school to become difficult if several suggestions are kept in mind:
1. Parents separately and together meet with the teacher and school psychologist or social worker so they become aware of the changes in the home. The child might make a connection with the social worker or psychologist to talk with when needed.
2. It’s helpful if custody arrangements are explained so the teacher knows if the child is coming to school from different homes different days of the week.
3. The teacher can talk with the child alone to share her understanding that the child is going through a difficult time and that she is there to help him or her adjust to changes in schedules before and after school and spend extra time together as needed just to listen.
4. The teacher can be mindful if this is a child who wants to open up or likes to know comfort is near but doesn’t really want to speak.
5. Many schools have groups for children going through divorce which is suitable and helpful for children who like to talk or just listen in groups.
6. It’s important for the child to know he or she is not alone — that divorce is common and other children in the class or school are going through these changes, too. This is nothing to be ashamed of.
7. It’s important for the child to feel safe and secure as the changes are taking place. It helps for the teacher to know that children often are afraid that they won’t be taken care of well. They do need special attention which can mean just extra smiles, praise, and support if there are any peer difficulties.
Laurie Hollman, PhD., is a psychoanalyst and author of Unlocking Parental Intelligence: Finding Meaning in Your Child’s Behavior found on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Familius and wherever books are sold.