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Articles Tagged with kids and divorce

The beginning of the school year means new teacher(s), new classmates, waking up earlier and more changes for most kids. Many kids in two-home families have an added adjustment to make. They have to adjust to their parenting plans changing back to the school year schedule. As we discussed previously on this blog, many families choose to have distinct residential schedules for the months that the kids are in school and the months that they are on summer vacation.

In our years working in family law, we have come across some valuable tips for parents helping their kids adjust to their new schedules. It might be helpful to create a visual calendar that your kids can look at to determine where they will be on any given day. This is especially helpful if the children are making frequent transfers throughout the week. Some kids (especially younger ones) might benefit from a note being pinned to their backpack reminding them where to go after school. Other families (and teachers) have told us it is helpful for unmarried parents to both come (assuming this doesn’t conflict with any court orders) to open houses and/or meet-and-greets. Use these visits as a chance to make the teacher aware of your child’s living situation. The teacher may be willing to send home two sets of class notes, and add both parents to his/her email list. This helps your child because both parents being aware of what’s going on at school allows both parents to be actively involved in their child’s education.

Please let us know if you would like to discuss your parenting plan with a family law attorney.

Divorced parents are often advised on ways to connect with their children after divorce. This recent article from helpguide.org is no different: it provides some time-tested ways to connect with your kids. This type of article can be very helpful when a parent is feeling their parent-child communication strained. However, a less talked about, less written about topic is what not to talk about with your kids during or after your divorce proceedings. Often, is it just as important to not say the wrong things as it is to say the right things.

One example of how not to communicate with your children is to use them as a messenger between you and your ex. This is especially true when the messages you are asking to be conveyed involve a contentious issue. When parents do this the child has to carry the stress of worrying about whatever reaction your ex may have or letting you down by failing to deliver the message. Instead, if possible, communicate with your spouse directly (in writing if necessary).

Another (unfortunately) common mistake parents make is to have conversations with other people regarding the status of their divorce, or how terrible their ex is, within the hearing distance of their children. As every parent who has let a swear word slip out under their breath knows, kids hear everything we say – especially when we don’t want them to hear it. The minute they hear you say your ex’s name, their little ears zero in. As such, keep your vent sessions limited to times when the child is residing with the other parent, or when you can have a babysitter and head out with a friend or adult family member.

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