The Team Approach

Divorce creates two families when there once was one.  Sometimes this transition is relatively easy; other times it can be thwart with tension and conflict. Parents, however, hope any negative impact on their children will be minimal.  Because school is such an important part of the child's life, working with your child's teacher to lessen any negative impacts from this transition is especially important.  

Consider the following if your family is facing such a transition:

1. Communication is important.  It needs to be two-way.  Parents need to keep teachers informed about important events in the child's home life and teachers need to keep parents informed about the child's full activities.  Don't assume the other parent will do this and keep you and the teacher informed.  
2. There are many ways to communicate.  Ask your child's teacher for information and ways that keep you in the loop.  Do your part too.  Most school websites include a school life calendar and event announcements.  Bookmark them as favourites and check them often.  Many teachers will send information via email.  Make sure they have your email address.  If you and your child's other parent don't get along, request a separate parent/teacher conference.  Most teachers will be happy to do so.  Unless there is a Court Order limiting the parent's access, ask the teacher for a weekly information packet that you can pick up so you can stay informed.  This is more reliable than expecting your child to get the information to both parents.  

3. Work to your child's strengths.  Even if there are challenges, every family has strengths.  Help your child's teacher find them and use them.  Examples for parents may include flexibility, multiple role models, extended family networks, children who have been given greater responsibility and have therefore developed greater independence and maturity, exposure to situations that model negotiation and conflict resolution skills and, most of all, parents who love them.

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