An education for divorced parents
The beginning of a new school year can be a challenge for divorced parents. Whether the child is living at two households or primarily at one, it takes a little extra effort to ensure that both parents are in the loop.
Parents need to set aside personal issues and focus on their kids, says Kathy Brown, former president of the Kitchener-Waterloo Parents Without Partners and a single parent herself. Here, she offers a few tips.
• Both parents should introduce themselves to teachers.
• Ask for school calendars and notices to be sent to both homes.
• When introducing yourselves to teachers, other parents or your child's friends, try "Hi, I'm John, Christine's father/mother," so people make an immediate connection.
• Don't spring surprises on your child. If you're bringing a partner to a school event, let her know beforehand.
• Tell your child and his teacher that you both want to be involved if parent volunteers are needed. Instead of offering to accompany the class on a school trip, offer to drive kids to off-site sporting events throughout the year, or present any skills you have that might be of interest to the class.
• Both parents should address behavioural or academic problems at school, instead of letting one parent take full responsibility. For instance, both can help with one-on-one reading or testing.