Divorce can wreak havoc on a child’s world and affect her life at school. How much information should a parent give a child’s teacher and other adults in the child’s life, and how should the child tell her friends? Our experts provide tips and guidance for parents to help their children navigate this difficult life experience.
When a child’s parents divorce, the mix of emotions he experiences—sadness, frustration, guilt, anger, and confusion—can make school a tough place to be. For some kids, the entire school year is lost. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Rosalind Sedacca, a certified corporate trainer in Florida, and her husband divorced when their son was in middle school. As difficult as it was, Sedacca and her ex-husband decided to coparent—he chose to live nearby in the same school district, they both remained involved in their son’s education, and they worked hard to create a stable life for him. As a result, their middle school son remained the A student he had always been.
The experience led Sedacca to create a support network for parents with resources on how to have a child-centered divorce. Her message is clear: Parents must put aside their anger toward each other and create a secure, loving environment for their children at each parent’s home and at school. She describes the approach as cooperative coparenting.
Sedacca advises enlisting help from the child’s teachers early on. “I highly advocate that parents create a support team so everyone has an eye on the child,” she says. Guidance counselors, social workers, administrators, coaches, and scout leaders can all be part of the team.
Teachers can provide insight into the child’s behavior and performance that a parent might miss. “The parents are so caught up in their own personal drama, they may not be able to recognize everything going on with their child,” Sedacca explains.