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Back-to-school advice for divorcees

In the coming weeks, Minneapolis children of all ages will head back to the classroom to start another school year. For those children whose parents are newly divorced or currently going through a divorce; changes in routines, living arrangements and finances may present challenges come school time.

A child may shuttle back and forth between parents' homes several time each week; sleeping in a different bed, taking a different bus and adjusting to a each parent's rules call all be stressful and taxing on a child. It's important, therefore, that parents take steps to make back-to-school time, and the entire school year, easier for a child.

The cardinal rule of successful co-parenting is to find a way to get along. This means no arguing in front of a child, period. Even for parents who are able to civilly communicate face-to-face or via telephone, it's wise to use a shared calendar and email to track and communicate details of a child's schedule. Doing so helps keep both parents on the same page and removes any room for confusion and possible miscommunication.

Prior to a child's school year start, it's wise to discuss a son's or daughter's home situation with a school guidance counselor or teacher. Regardless of age, a child whose parents are newly divorced or divorcing may have difficulty adjusting to the changes divorce brings. Informing a school counselor or teacher of a child's situation helps ensure that a child will receive the help he or she needs to succeed academically and personally.

Regardless of what a child says, he or she really does need consistency and rules. Parents should therefore do their best to stick to a child custody agreement and make adjustments if a current schedule proves to be too demanding on a child. Parents should also discuss schedules and rules related to homework, dinner, television and bedtime and work together to provide a child with a predictable routine regardless of who has physical custody.

While divorce is often the best solution for individuals involved in a broken marriage, children may struggle to adjust to the many changes that accompany divorce. Children need and thrive when they have rules and consistency in their lives. It's important, therefore, that divorced parents set aside their own differences and focus on the needs of a shared child.

Source: The Huffington Post, "5 Back to School Strategies for Divorced or Divorcing Parents," Cheryl and Joe Dillon, Aug. 11, 2014

Source: The Huffington Post, "5 Back to School Strategies for Divorced or Divorcing Parents," Cheryl and Joe Dillon, Aug. 11, 2014

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