One thing has become apparent to me about schools since separating from the kids mother all those years ago – the Australian education system does not know how to deal with divorce.
Kids religious sensibilities, cultural beliefs, learning disorders and any other 'difference' are usually extremely well catered for. Conversely, divorce is like an alien concept to the schools and they just aren't prepared for it.
This gaping hole is made worse considering divorce rates have been so high for such a long time. Divorce is not a new concept and in a lot of ways for many kids, is the new 'norm'. Why are schools still so backwards at helping divorced families?
When you think about bullying programs, cultural sensitivity assemblies and religious celebration instruction / participation and all that jazz, it's amazing how much effort schools put into meeting kids emotional needs – except in the biggest most important area of their whole lives – their home life.
Kids going through or subsequently living with, a divorce, often have different needs to be met. Especially when you have parents that can't co-parent to an adequate level and there is conflict. I am lucky in that my kids mother and I have developed a fairly decent relationship and our co-parenting is mostly on track. Still, we would both rather do parent teacher interviews alone, that kind of thing. You don't get two reports, there isn't adequate delivery of notes and important teacher communications to both parents. We have the technology to make this so easy, but so many schools aren't there.
There is no denying it, divorce is difficult, and hopefully most parents are trying hard to make it easier on the kids, but no matter what – it will always be tough on the kids. They love their parents and want them together, and want life as it should be in their eyes. Schools need to be ready for this, and make it easier for the kids to cope with the new life they have.
By taking the stress out of school interactions for both parents, and ensuring the kids don't have to deal with a parents emotions if they feel out of the loop, uninformed, or lacking in the tools they need to help the kids at school, the happier the kids will be and the easier they will adjust to their new life. After all, they spend so much time at school they have to feel settled when they are there.