Parents, read this: a divorce primer from teachers

For any parent open to instruction on how and how not to act around kids following a divorce, what better person might there be to listen to than an experienced teacher who has had a ringside seat for years as a witness to parent-kid interactions in divorced families?

The comments of teachers regarding such a matter almost sound like a primer and advisory on the subject. Following are a few kernels of wisdom from teachers whose input was solicited by the Huffington Post.

You can’t, nor should you, try to buy your child’s love following a divorce, especially as a strategy to get back at or otherwise undermine your ex-spouse. One teacher who has repeatedly seen such behavior says it commonly owes to “guilt or revenge” and flatly teaches kids inappropriate attitudes and behaviors.

Make the kids stand up and act responsibly. Although a divorce can make for a rough and unsettled transition, kids must still be forced to toe the line and be held accountable for their actions.

Divorce spells uncertainty and uncharted waters. A mindful parent will stress the known and what has been consistent and true in the past to a child rather than dwell on the unknown going forward. This will reinforce in a child that success has issued in the past and will likely continue to be achieved in the future.

Work with teachers. Know what’s going on in school. Supervise homework. Attend school-related events. In other words, show up.

That last piece of advice, though simple, may be of supreme importance. Many aspects of divorce — child custody, support, visitation and so forth — can be stress-inducing and pull at a family emotionally, at least over the short term, but kids are resilient and customarily prosper when parents simply make the effort to get and stay involved.

Source: Huffington Post, “Back to school 2012: Teachers reveal parents’ biggest divorce mistakes,” Natasha Burton, Aug. 14, 2012

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