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Helping children do well in school during divorce

Your spouse asks for a divorce, and your first thought isn't even for yourself. It's for your children. You know how important their education is, and you have heard far too many stories about the negative impacts of a divorce. You worry that they'll act out, become apathetic, let their grades slip and much more.

Of course, you can't control whether or not you get divorced. It only takes one person. If that's what your spouse wants, you can't stop it. So, how can you support the children through this period in their lives?

Be there for them

Perhaps more than anything else, you must be there for your children. Show them that you love them. Give them as much consistency as possible. Take the time to help them with schoolwork and show an interest in their lives, no matter how busy you get. Children often see the negative ramifications because they're not sure where their relationships stand anymore. Make sure they know.

Talk to their teachers

Another key is to talk to their teachers and work closely with them. Let the teachers know what challenges the children face in their daily lives. Talk about how your child acts at school; tell the teacher how they act at home. The more both of you know, the better off you are. You can develop tactics to work with that child and promote positive academic performance.

Stick to the routines

As noted above, consistency is important. Routines matter. Do not let things slip. Make sure the child still gets up at the same time, goes to school, gets picked up at the same time, does their homework, goes to bed, etc. When you start changing all of these things, children feel nervous and unsettled. Life cannot remain exactly the same, but you want to keep it as close to the same as you can.

The impact is real

You have to know that the impact on your children is real. It does happen. One expert said that a child who goes through a parent's divorce has double the odds of failing a grade and having to repeat it. The odds that the child will get suspended or expelled go up five times.

This isn't meant to frighten you. Many children get through with good grades and good behavior. But you just have to know what the statistics tell us so that you can understand how important your actions are moving forward. Your child needs your support.

Your options

As you work your way through all of this, make sure you look into your child custody rights and the options you have. Try to make decisions that help the child do well in school and at home.

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