You may think you are protecting your child’s privacy by not telling their teacher about your divorce, but it is important that you discuss what is happening with the other caretakers in your child's life. This National Teacher's Appreciation Week, we address how your child's teacher can play a role in supporting you and your child during this difficult time.
Why should I Tell My Child's Teacher about the Divorce?
According to a recent VitalSmarts study, 94% of teachers felt it was important that parents inform them of a divorce, yet only 23% of divorcing parents said they told their child’s teacher. Teachers have plenty of experience dealing with children and families that are going through divorce, but without any knowledge of the situation at home they cannot be helpful or supportive to your child's needs during this time. Communicating major life changes will help their teacher do a better job at being supportive as your child navigates this life-changing process.
Divorce can bring on an array of emotions for your child during this time and they may express these emotions during the school day. This could be anything, from withdrawing from classroom participation to having outbursts in the middle of class. With knowledge of your divorce, teachers are better equipped to look out for these changes in mood or behavior and know how to best address them.
What does my Child's Teacher Need to know about the Divorce?
Your child's teacher does not need to know every detail of your divorce. Stick to the facts and do not over share or give any more information than what they need in order to be supportive of your child during this difficult transition.
Logistical changes in your child life should also be discussed with teachers, as well as school officials such as a principle. Changes such as communication, primary parent contact information, living situation, or who will be picking up your child from now on should be discussed to help you and your child transition smoothly into a single-parent home during this time.
When is the Best Time to Tell My Child's Teacher about the Divorce?
Your child's teacher should never know about your divorce before your child does. Don't let a miscommunication between you and their teacher lead to your child finding about about your divorce from them instead of you. Make sure you have had a conversation with your child before going to their teacher with the news. The point of this conversation with your child's teacher is to create the best experience and environment for your child and their student during this difficult period of transition. Make sure to have the conversation soon after you've told your child of the divorce as well as in private, either on the phone or in person.
Divorce can have an effect on all aspects of your child's life, including their behavior and performance in school. Making their teacher aware of the situation can help your child feel supported in the classroom and give their teachers the ability to best address any problems during this difficult time. Not only can a teacher offer support to you and your child during this time, but so can C.Y. Lee Legal Group, PLLC as they have over a decade of experience helping families through the divorce process.
Further reading on how best to support your child during your divorce can be found here.