So many things can contribute to how school functions during and after divorce are handled. No matter what is happening or has already happened, your children need you to be the adult. Your children need you to swallow your pride, and shut your mouth around your ex. It isn’t easy, as a matter of fact, it just plain sucks at times, BUT it must be done for the sake of the children.
The middle school orientation was tough for my daughter. My ex husband met us at the school (us being my husband, Bob, and my other daughter, Cami) and brought his baby. He didn’t bring a diaper bag or a car seat into the school. Her baby brother barfed on a teacher’s leg in the cafeteria and all over the linoleum floor. My youngest scrambled to find napkins for her dad, who had vomit on him as well, while the middle-schooler hid her red face. Each time we walked into a classroom to meet one of her teachers, the teacher would look at each of us, pleading for a clue to who’s who with their confused gaze. From that point on, Ali asked that we not all go to her orientation.
We try to listen to her input and plan accordingly, as long as not having all parents in attendence does not interfere with anything. I think that is the most important thing that someone divorced can do, is listen to your children, and to remember who is the adult. It is not easy to put feelings aside. Concentrate on the child. Keep the relationship with the ex cordial and business-like.
Check out more on the topic on Her View From Home
How to Handle School School Events Like Back-to-School-Night & Conferences
Make an Effort to Attend Your Child’s School Events
Attending school events is an extremely important way to show your children how much you support them. Of course, there will be times when you have scheduling conflicts and valid reasons why you cannot attend. However, when you can go to events like Back-to-School-Night or a special concert, play, or sporting event, make the effort to be present. Don’t let hesitation over seeing the other parent keep you from being at events that mean a lot to your children.
Focus on the Kids During School Events
Remember, it’s for your children’s benefit that you want to attend school events. This is not for the purpose of making an impression on your ex, school personnel, or anyone else. Instead, you’re doing this because it’s an important part of playing an active role in your children’s lives. Don’t make the mistake of underestimating how powerful your involvement really is.
Coordinate With Your Ex Regarding School
Communicate with one another beforehand so that there are no surprises at the event. Also, remember that you don’t have to drive to the function together or even sit together. If the event is parent-teacher conferences, you can opt to request separate meetings with your child’s teacher. However, it is important that you keep your meeting focused on your child’s progress, not your personal situation.
Be Courteous to One Another at School Events
When you see your ex at the event, make an effort to be courteous. This means, at the very least, acknowledging his or her presence with a nod or a wave. Even if your situation is extremely contentious, make an effort to treat your ex as you’d like to be treated yourself. This sets an important example for your children about your ability to put your differences aside and get along for their sake.
Tolerate Some Discomfort For the Sake of Your Child
Frankly, the need to attend school events at the same time will probably make you feel uncomfortable for quite a while, especially if you are newly divorced or separated. If it is helpful to you, make plans to attend the event with a friend or neighbor. The distraction of making small talk and knowing ahead of time who you’ll be sitting with may help you tolerate some of the discomfort and focus on enjoying the event.
Trish Eklund is taking a nontraditional approach to parenting children after divorce and remarriage. Raising her two daughters of ten and fourteen with her husband, ex-husband, and his wife, they consult one another on all parenting decisions. Trish has been featured on www.playground-magazine.com, and www.bigblendedfamily.com. She is a regular writer on www.herviewfromhome.com, writer and co-editor for Her View From Omaha. Follow her on Twitter: @trishiewriter, Google +, and Pinterest.