Trying to navigate a child's academic world when his real one is rocked by divorce
When parents divorce, their children's world is understandably turned upside down. Many questions fill their head – is it my fault? What could I have done differently? Will my parents still love me? One of the worse things that can happen at this time is another ground breaking shift in their world – changing schools. Unfortunately, children experiencing a parental divorce may find that too much to bear, unless some steps are taken to ensure that the transition to a new world is as seamless as possible.
Which school? One of the major outcomes of a divorce is the ruling on child custody. However, if the court goes in favor of the mother, and the kid's school is close to where his father now lives, that could be a major change on top of everything else. This goes double for divorces and school transfers that happen in the middle of the school year. Our advice is to let your kids finish out their year (if possible) before making the decision to switch. They need some sort of stability, and the relative comfort of their friends and teachers will ease their way.
Ask them what they'd like to do We know that most of the time, parents know best. But when there's a stalemate, ask your child what they'd like to do – in this case, ask which school they want to go to or which parent they want to live with. The divorcing duo may not have the best intentions of the child, hoping to angle them to move in with them. A fresh set of ears (from the kid this is most affecting) could be the way to move on.
Don't try to bully them When people divorce, they're not in the best of mindsets. It may behoove one to try to win the affections of their child to curry favor, but if it fails, don't fight it and definitely don't become offended and offensive. Remember, this is a delicate time for them and any scarring words or actions could stay with them for a long time.