No matter what age your child is, separation or divorce will have an effect, particularly in the school-aged child.
Statistics tell us that more than half of all divorce cases involve children. But statistics can’t describe the emotional turmoil divorce and separation causes kids. Granted, while most experts agree that staying together for the sake of kids isn’t the answer, it is important to remember that divorce does affect children and it’s up to parents and other significant adults, such as teachers, to help children come to terms with the changes divorce brings.
Sometimes it’s difficult to recognize how a divorce is affecting a child. As Fran Newman, author of Children in Crisis explains, “when children are going through a separation or divorce, one thing that’s really important to remember is that a lot of times they will hold back their own emotions in order to help the parent that is still left with them.”
It’s for this reason that children need to be reminded that divorce is an adult problem. Newman adds that “children in separation or divorce often feel responsible. If no one tells them, for example, why the break up happened they will think it’s because of something they did. It’s important to tell them that they had nothing to do with it and that they are still loved by both parents.”
Newman adds that one area where the effects of divorce can be more obvious is in a child’s education. Sometimes a child’s marks may drop or they may begin acting out in class. In fact any change of behavior can signify that a child is having difficulty coping with the breakdown of a parent’s marriage. For this reason, communication between school and home is vital. Then, says Newman “in recognizing that there’s something wrong at home, teachers look for two things. One is a child who is normally energetic and outgoing withdraws. The other is the stable child who all of a sudden begins to act up and get into all sorts of problems.”
Divorce is difficult and children need help coping. Remember in many ways “the child loses both parents, ” says Newman. “One leaves, and one changes and can’t be there for the child.”
Never hesitate to talk to your child’s teacher about the situation at home; and if needs be, find a school or family counselor that both you and your child can share these difficult times with. It has been said that it takes about two years for a child to come to terms with divorce, but in time healing will take place.
Adapted from The Parent Report Radio Show. Any advice or information contained herein should never be a substitute for professional and/or medical advice, diagnosis and treatment. For more information please review Terms of Service.
For more about your child’s education, please click here.