Divorce can lead to awkward social situations for adults, but it doesn’t stop there. It can cause children to feel socially awkward, too. Despite how common divorce is, many children have difficulty dealing with it within their social circles, including at school. That’s why you should consider a few tips to help them navigate this confusing time.
In many divorces, a parent who previously stayed home with the kids suddenly has to work. This means the children need to get used to being without that parent more often. Once both parents are working, it can be hard for one or both to make it to every game, performance or school presentation. This sudden change can cause children to feel anxious and awkward, especially if they notice their peers don’t have the same circumstances. While they’ll adjust over time, you can smooth the transition by letting them know which events they should expect you or their other parent at and which ones you’ll have to miss. This manages their expectations and brings back some of their confidence, as they’ll be prepared and not blindsided.
Children don’t always know how to let their friends know about their parents’ divorce. Depending on their age, this subject is likely to come up, so make sure they know what to say. You shouldn’t go too into detail about the cause of the divorce, but you can simply let them know you and their other parent won’t be living together anymore but that you’ll still both be there for them. Answer any questions they have, and help them decide what to say about it if any of their friends ask. Make sure they know they’re not alone in this, since many of their friends and classmates have likely gone through it, as well.
It’s not uncommon for children to start having behavioral or academic issues at school after their parents get divorced. This can lead to some awkward social problems, too, especially if they start hurting or bullying classmates. Make sure you stay in communication with the teachers and school staff to stay ahead of any problems of this kind. You can even email their teachers during the divorce to let them know what’s going on so they can keep a closer eye on your children during this time.
Divorce can be hard enough on a child. Don’t make it worse by refusing to communicate with their other parent. Make sure you work together to make your child’s life a little easier during this life event. This means deciding which parent will deal with school topics — such as signing permission slips and attending school events. You don’t want to let these tasks slip through the cracks because you’re not communicating, since missing field trips and having no one at sports games to provide support can severely affect your child’s life. So if you’re co-parenting, make sure you’re truly up to staying in close communication with the child’s other parent. This is especially important if one of you notices a new behavior that needs to be addressed before it gets worse.
Children don’t have to suffer from your decision to end your marriage. They can end up happy, well-adjusted and without social awkwardness, as long as you keep putting them first. If you need any guidance when it comes to family law, come to the Edgar & Dow for a free consultation and get legal help with your divorce.
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