Children often experience mixed feelings about going back to school, ranging from excitement at seeing their classmates, to apprehension about any newness they may encounter in the new school year. Divorce and separation can compound these mixed emotions, particularly if the marital status change is new.
At Carmichael Law, our Oshawa family lawyers know that caring parents genuinely want to offer their children stability in the wake of a divorce or separation but can face challenges that allow emotions to get in the way.
Challenges Oshawa Divorced or Separated Parents Face During the New School Year
All Oshawa parents face some common challenges with school-age children, particularly with coordinating schedules around work. Who picks up the children and on what days? If there are after-school activities, such as sports practices and games, which parent is responsible for getting them there on time, and providing any essentials such as uniforms or team snacks?
These and other challenges are magnified under the separate living arrangement, especially communications between both parents and your child’s teacher and school. Verbal communication may not get conveyed to both parents, notes sent home with your child may only make it to one home, and email communications may not get shared.
Financial stresses are also common in separations and divorces, and back-to-school expenses can create or add tension. If one parent receives child support, the paying parent may think the supplies, new clothes, and other school-related fees should come from those child support payments.
The parent receiving child support, on the other hand, may consider some of these expenses as outside the scope of the regular and usual costs of caring for their child.
Ten Tips to Reduce Stress for Yourself and Your Co-Parent
One way to help mitigate any heightened emotions is to create and follow a plan that provides practical tips to reduce the stress on your child and frustration for each parent.
- Alert school personnel to the marital situation, particularly if it’s new. Open communication with your child’s school can help the teacher, principal, and school counselor navigate communications, as well as be alert for any behavioral changes in your child.
- Help your child talk to their friends about your marital status. Talk openly to your child about the possibility of their classmates asking questions, and how they might respond. Talking to the parents of your child’s friends can also help them answer questions for their children, who may be confused or have concerns.
- Keep consistency with existing friends. If your child is changing schools, both parents should make the effort and commitment to help keep any existing ties with your child’s friends.
- Co-develop ways to streamline communications between both of you and the school. This can be as simple as creating an email account you provide to the school that goes to both parents.
- Respect scheduling challenges and work them out in advance as much as possible. Today’s co-parenting mobile apps can help eliminate mistakes and confusion before they become contentious.
- Attend parent-student meetings together as much as possible. This not only keeps you both fully informed but signals to your child that you are still a parenting team.
- Don’t diminish your child’s feelings. Your child is entitled to their emotions, whether they experience anger, sadness, or confusion. Listen without judgment and don’t take them personally.
- Watch carefully for any unusual or sudden changes. Changes in appetite, mood, friends, grades, or disinterest in activities can signal potential problems. Communicate any of these changes to one another and your child’s teacher or school counselor.
- Share school-related costs. Keep in mind that having your child’s needs met is the priority.
- Seek help sooner rather than later. This includes professional counseling for your child to help them cope or help for you in negotiating parenting details.
How Carmichael Law Could Help
The Durham region child custody lawyers of Carmichael Law have extensive experience helping parents with issues they cannot resolve on their own, whether it’s financial support, visitation, or medical decisions. Having an objective and experience viewpoint can remove anger and frustration that can create long-lasting emotional damage in all parties.
At Carmichael Law Professional Corporation, we believe parents genuinely want to keep their child’s best interests at heart after a separation and divorce but can find it hard to work through pain and other fast-gathering emotions. We offer initial consultations at a reduced rate and work efficiently and effectively to keep costs down.
Our goal is the same as yours: To keep your child’s well-being paramount and have your entire family, regardless of how that family unit has changed, have a successful school year. Give us a call today at (905) 571-5123 or reach out to us online.