Going back to school is a transition for children as they get back into certain schedules and routines. Some may be entering a new school, such as middle school or high school, and will have certain anxieties about the first day. For children whose parents have recently divorced, this may be an especially anxious time of transition.
What to Tell People
Your child’s teacher(s) should be made aware of your family situation, how it has changed, and the basic outline of your parenting plan so that they can be on the lookout for any signs that your child is having a hard time emotionally. It will also give them the opportunity to understand your child’s behavior and offer support instead of discipline, should your child act distressed, distracted, or disinterested in classwork.
Naturally your child will need to tell their friends what happened. Rehearse at home what to share with friends and how to deal with inappropriate and personal questions. Friends may be curious about which parent has custody and how much time the other parent gets to visit. Make your child know that they are not obligated to discuss the details of their family situation if they do not want to.
If the divorce means changing schools, it is best to try as much as possible to maintain contact with your child’s former classmates and friends. It will provide a stable point of reference in their currently shifting world. Experts say that children need six months to a year to come to terms with their feelings regarding a divorce. During that time, a child may need reassurances that they can still have a close relationship with each parent. There is no need to worry about every bump in the road along the way, things will most likely settle down with time. However, there are certain warning signs that warrant outside professional help. Seek help for your child if you or their teacher observe any of the following:
- Uncharacteristic behavior such as anger, sadness, withdrawal that lasts several months, or crying and grief that does not subside
- Radical changes in behavior such as stealing, lying, cheating, fighting at school, intense anger, or skipping school
- A decline in performance at school such as plummeting grades
- Hanging out with a bad crowd at school and losing old friendships
- Physical changes such as eating disorders, sleep disorders, headaches, stomachaches, or substance abuse
For any of these issues, seek help for your child immediately. Ideally both parents should be involved in getting help to reduce the stress on the children. Family therapy may help your child open and discuss unresolved issues that are affecting their behavior.
Towson Divorce Lawyers at Huesman, Jones and Miles, LLC Provide Counsel for Families
At Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC, we can offer you knowledgeable counsel in all areas of family law. Our experienced Towson divorce lawyers are ready to help you with personalized legal representation to help you sleep at night. Call us today at 443-589-0150 or contact us online. An initial consultation is free.