The end of a marriage requires many adjustments and concerns to address. For parents who have gone through a divorce over the summer, ensuring their child is dealing well emotionally is perhaps the biggest concern. This may be why the beginning of the new school year triggers anxiety in newly separated parents. Not only do their children have to deal with their parents in separate homes for the first time, they also have to deal with new classes and possibly even a new school. What can parents in New York do to help their children’s transition? The simple answer to this question is to communicate.
The most important topic to open communication lines about is the first day of school and address some, if not all, of the following questions. Who has custody that day? Who is going to drop the kids to the bus stop? Who is going to pick them up? Where will the kids be residing that day? Can the parents put aside their differences for one day and make the first day of school special for their kids by putting up a united front? Discussing these and other similar issues can make sure there are no last minute confusions that further agitate children.
The second thing to keep in mind is to communicate with others. First, it would be worthwhile to talk to the district transportation department and tell them about changes in the pickup and drop-off schedule to make sure there are no surprises on the first day of school. Secondly, consider bringing the teacher into the loop about the new situation, asking them to add both the parents to email distribution lists so coordination can become easier. Lastly, if there are concerns about the child’s behavior and difficulty in adjusting to the new situation, it may also be beneficial to talk to the guidance counselor, asking them for help in easing the child’s transition both at home and in school.
Communication is key post-divorce. Even though the divorce has ended the legal relationship between the couple, the children involved are keeping it alive. Thus, it is essential that their best interests be kept in mind at all times. This means more than simply adhering to the child custody and visitation schedule. In some situations, it may mean making sure the child is getting the most out of these plans.