It is that time of year. School has started again. This is often a very exciting time, but for divorced parents or families in transition, it can also be challenging and stressful. Whether it is your first school year as a divorced or separated parent or you are a seasoned veteran, there are some things that you can do to ease the anxiety and it all centers around one key idea: information. Often times, one parent can feel as though they are being purposely deprived of information when the other parent does not proactively share what they know or seems to have more information. When this occurs, it is sometimes the result of one parent purposely not sharing information but it is most often the result of the busy life. Whatever the cause, whether purposeful or accidental, it is important to keep in mind that while healthy communication and co-parenting is the ideal goal, separated parents are no longer responsible for keeping the other up to speed or ensuring they are involved in and informed about their child’s life. When one parent assumes that the other will do this or misplaces this responsibility on the other parent, it only causes anger and frustration.
So, back to our helpful tip. Information…it is the key to happiness, or at least to peace of mind.
1) Make sure both parents are listed as emergency contacts, and parents, on your child’s school file.
2) Meet your child’s teachers. Do this proactively. Don’t wait for parent teacher conferences to come around, utilize the back to school night as an opportunity to do this, or set-up individual meetings with the teachers at the beginning of the year to introduce yourself.
3) Continue being involved with your child’s teachers throughout the year. Again, don’t wait for parent teacher conferences, set-up occasional meetings just to check in.
4) Technology is your best friend. Most school districts utilize online school portals which give you access to your child’s student file including the academic calendar, school calendar with important events, your child’s absence/tardy record, school grades and in some cases deadlines for projects and large assignments. Access this website and your child’s file frequently! It is one of your easiest sources of information!
While it is sometimes easy to let the responsibility fall to someone else, being pro-active with your child’s teachers and activities will go a long way in easing your transition as a divorced or separated parent.