f you and your spouse finalized your divorce over the summer, this is likely not only a difficult time for you as you begin to cope with the ensuing changes, it is also difficult for your children, especially as they embark on a new school year. Through effective co-parenting, you and your ex-spouse can help them transition back to school even in the aftermath of this event. They might be afraid of reacting emotionally at school or feel less confident, so it is imperative to do what you can to give them the tools to combat these feelings and rebuild their inner strength.
Below is a list of some tips for you to help your children transition back to school in the aftermath of a divorce:
- Reduce the embarrassment: Sure, it is 2018 and divorce is not as heavily stigmatized as it once was, but it is still not uncommon for children to feel shame regarding the end of their parents’ marriage, especially since they are less aware of the statistics than adults are. They might still view the experience as abnormal, so it is up to you to have a conversation with them about divorce, so they can understand that they are not alone and that there is nothing to be ashamed about.
- Explain the concept of boundaries: Kids are inherently curious and, while they might not mean to be cruel, any question about divorce might still make your children uncomfortable or cause them distress. If your kids are unsure of how to respond to any questions regarding the recent changes your family underwent, explain to them that they are not obligated to talk about it if they do not wish to. It might feel a little awkward for them to decline to answer any questions, particularly if one of their friends is asking, but this is a great chance for them to learn how to establish emotional boundaries. Of course, not all children are good-intentioned and their questions might get pushy. In this case, their teacher or a school counselor should get involved.
- Work with their friends’ parents: Chances are you will not know how your children feel about your divorce on a daily basis and children’s emotions are often a bit like a roller coaster, so new emotions might come up when they are least expected. Talk to your children and make sure they are aware of the resources that are available to them at school. School counselors are often trained in supporting children through such issues, so they should make use of this valuable asset.
- Be prepared to handle the reactions of other kids: If your children end up feeling comfortable enough to talk about divorce with their fellow peers, it is important for you to explain to them that the reactions this information elicits will not always be positive. Children are still maturing and might not have the requisite amount of empathy for producing an appropriate reaction that will not result in hurt feelings. Oftentimes, kids often repeat what they hear in their own household, so if their parents have spoken negatively about divorce, they might just echo this information. Your role as a parent is to counteract these negative statements and to always keep the lines of communication open with your children.
Your children are likely already experiencing quite a bit of anxiety regarding the new school year, but the divorce likely heightened these feelings, so do what you can to lessen the difficulties of adjusting, so your children can continue to thrive, grow, and take on the academic year with confidence.
Divorce Attorneys in Fairfax
If you and your spouse are getting a divorce, it is important that you do not attempt to go through this process on your own. At Malinowski Hubbard, PLLC, our Fairfax family law attorneys have the experience, knowledge, and compassion to walk you through every step of your divorce while ensuring your interests are protected. For award-winning legal representation, reach out to our team today.
Get started on your case and contact our law office at (703) 935-4222 to schedule a consultation and discuss the details of your case.