It’s September, and the kids are back to school! Children in Pennsylvania are often excited for a school year, with new friends, classes, teachers, and activities to attend. If you are a recently divorced parent, the start of a new school year may be a new beginning of your own- and sometimes a problematic change in routine. It is natural to feel many mixed emotions during this transition, as co-parenting issues may come to light while dealing with children’s ever-changing schedule of after-school activities, friends, etc. Do not fear- if you view these changes as positive, and implement strategies to ease anxiety, this new school year could be an exciting new beginning of your own. Here are a few tips to help you prepare:
Communication With Your Ex-Spouse
Make sure there are clear lines of communication with your ex-spouse.
This is indeed easier said than done, especially while a PA divorce is pending. By making sure that you and your co-parent have a plan around communication and child-related issues are the key to a successful school year. If you do not have clear or comfortable lines of communication, a co-parenting app like OurFamilyWizard or to 2Houses can be incredibly helpful.
Communication With Your Children
Divorce can be stressful on kids- with a new school year, new friends, and new classes, anxiety can increase dramatically. How can you help? Well, as a parent, you are in a great position to help ease this transition merely by opening the lines of communication. Talking with your kids about what concerns them, what they are most looking forward to, and what their goals are for the new year (and really listening) can really help. Keep in mind that you cannot wholly alleviate your child’s stress. You can, however, ensure that the right support system is in place (time with their friends, scheduled sessions with their therapist, your availability to chat with you), can help significantly. When children feel emotionally supported, they tend to act with more confidence and less out of anxiety. Research has shown lower anxiety leads to higher grades and healthy social skills.
Don’t Forget to Take Care of Yourself!
Many divorcing parents in Pennsylvania are so focused on the well-being of their children during this time that they forget to take care of themselves. There is nothing more important than indulging in some much-needed self-care, which can include simple pleasures like watching a movie or spending time catching up with friends. Taking care of yourself will help you be a better parent and react in a more controlled and deliberate manner when facing conflict (especially when your ex causes that conflict!).
Talk therapy can also be a very useful tool in the self-care category. Research has shown that therapy can rewire the brain and may show significant improvement in the healing of emotional wounds. A trained therapist can teach you coping mechanisms to handle stress arising during a divorce or co-parenting scenarios that ensue.