08 Jan What Teachers Want You to Know about Children and Divorce
Divorce is one of the leading causes of stress in children, as more than 1.5 million youngsters have parents who have begun the process. During the process, parents are rightfully concerned about their children’s welfare (in and out of the classroom), as reports have shown that children of divorced parents may experience depression, lower self-esteem, and a decline in academic performance.
It May be Difficult in the Beginning
Even “straight-A” children can be completely overwhelmed and shocked by the news of a divorce between their parents. Students may fear a number of different situations, from being moved from their familiar environment and being concerned about the life that they may live will be with only one of their parents, to their future if their parents begin dating others and the way their parents will now interact/communicate with each other.
Many children harbor anger, resentment, and hurt when they first learn of their parents’ intentions to divorce and find focusing on classroom lessons and homework to be a lower priority in their lives. Researchers have found that students whose parents are divorcing or already divorced are often less interactive in class, tend to keep to themselves, and have less consistency with their work.
Of course, there are students who will react differently and may immerse themselves even more deeply in their studies. Students who weren’t always as keen on reading or math sometimes find that the routine in class and assigned homework bring a level of consistency and regularity to a world that’s been turned upside-down.
This is an extremely difficult time for your child. They don’t understand what’s going on and don’t know what the next steps will be. Children often crave structure and routine, and divorce may affect much of that in the short term. You may find that they are acting out more at home; pushing the limits of your love, testing you and their other parent’s level of discipline, and challenging your decisions.
They are discovering that the love they thought you shared with their other parent ended, and are worried that your love for them will end, too. They hear you tossing around words like visitation, judges, dating, and court, and are scared, among many other emotions and responses they may have to your divorce.
Knowing this, keep the lines of communication open with your child. While it’s important to continue to discipline them for poor behavior, it’s equally important that they understand the process of divorce and how their lives will be affected. When working with a family law attorney, find one who can help you work with your entire family to explain the process. Maintain a level of honesty and openness with your children and let them talk to you when they are experiencing any upsetting emotions.
While you’re at it, please take a minute to keep your child’s teachers and principals in the loop. They don’t need the details, but if there is something going on at home, they want to be able to work with the children to ensure they get the best possible education while they are with the teacher. When teachers have even a small idea that something may be causing stress and turmoil in your child’s life, they can help give your child the special attention that they may need.
Encourage Your Children
Heated arguments that caused stress and conflict in your household are known stressors for your children, so you’d think that there may be an immediate sense of relief. A divorce might bring them much-desired relief, but the children probably won’t realize that at the very beginning.
The same goes for your child’s schoolwork. If children aren’t encouraged during the divorce process to further their education and deepen their level of knowledge, they may begin sliding down a slope that will be difficult to re-scale.
Teachers do their best to keep your child motivated and excited to learn and grow, but young learners need positive, consistent reinforcement from home to really drive home the value and need for higher and in-depth learning.
They Will Be Ok
Many different studies and anecdotes have shown that children experience difficulty both in and out of the classroom for about a year, but that after about a year, the reactions typically diminish, with many children exhibiting very few characteristics and traits that they had at the beginning of the divorce process.
It can help to find a Florida family law attorney who is experienced and knowledgeable about handling divorce cases. They can explain the procedure and process to you, to make sure you’re able to explain it to your children.