Why Your Kids’ Teacher Needs to Know About Your Divorce!

A divorce at home can affect how a child performs at school, so teachers should be told.


The last few weeks have been hectic for parents all over Michigan, as children return to school – starting new grades, enrolling in new sports, and making new friends. But while the start of a new school year can be an exciting time for many kids, so those whose families recently began the divorce process, it can be a time of psychological upheaval and emotional challenges.


There’s a breakdown in communication between parents and teachers


A recent survey conducted by VitalSmarts, which asked hundreds of divorced parents and teachers about divorce related issues, showed some very important information. Teachers, it seems, feel that parents don’t share enough information with them about what’s going on at home that might affect the way a student behaves and processes in class, while very few parents seem to want to share that information.


What do teachers have to say about parents sharing this info with them?


In fact, 94% of the teachers surveyed said that they believe it’s critical parents share information about divorces or other major changes in a family’s status with them. Why? Because it can have a huge emotional impact on a student. Major life changes, like divorce or death in the family, often leave children grappling with shame, fear, anger and sadness. As a result, their behavior in class, and ability to cope with the stress of school, is directly impacted.


And what do parents have to say about sharing this info with teachers?


On the flip side of the coin, only 23% of parents say that they had shared divorce information with their children’s teachers. Why so few? Lots of reasons, actually. Some parents felt that a divorce was a very personal thing and they weren’t comfortable sharing that information with a stranger. A few said they were too ashamed to tell their children’s teachers, while others said they were so busy, or caught up in what was happening in their lives, they simply didn’t think about it.


What happens if the info isn’t passed on?


So what exactly are the consequences of this information disconnect between parents and teachers? Well, many teachers who don’t have the necessary information, will end up treating a child’s acting out and behavioral issues as discipline problems. Which means a child who is hurting and needs extra kindness and support at school, instead gets into trouble and gets treated like a “problem child.”


What can you do to avoid this in the future for your kids?


Make a point of meeting with your children’s teachers at the beginning of the school year. Introduce yourself and take a little time to share some information about your child. This includes what they’re good at, and what challenges they may be facing right now. Also, establish methods of communication that’ll allow you to update them if your child is having a particularly difficult week, or needs extra support on a specific day. In the end, the teacher will be grateful that you kept them in the loop, and your child will benefit from the added support and understanding at school.