Researchers have long attempted to quantify the impact of divorce on children. Doing so can be a challenge as children in different family circumstances respond differently to the stress of a divorce.
Factors ranging from age to the relationship the child has with each parent can impact how they handle the situation. Every child has a unique emotional response to learning of their parent’s impending divorce. However, some responses are far more common than others.
A drop in school performance is one of the most common negative consequences reported following a parental divorce. Children may start rebelling in school or have trouble focusing due to new anxiety or depression symptoms. How can you and your ex help your child if they struggle academically during or after your divorce?
Get them professional support
If your child has issues at school after learning that you will divorce, that is a sure sign that they have unresolved emotional pain. They may not feel comfortable talking about their experience with you or your ex.
Connecting them with a therapist who specializes in helping children handle the emotions that arise during divorce could give your child access to the support they need and help them develop more resiliency and new coping skills.
Commit to offering academic support
Sometimes, what your child needs is more one-on-one attention. Working with them hands-on a few times a week in the subjects where they struggle can both help them improve their grades and make them feel like more of a priority to you. Especially if you can get your ex on board with the in-house support, you may be able to quickly get their grades back to their previous level.
Offer incentives instead of punishment
Your first response to dropping academic performance might be to threaten to take away social privileges or their access to technology, but that may just make them feel even more hurt and isolated. An alternative may be to offer rewards if they can get their performance back up to where it was before or even better than that. Working cooperatively with your ex in this regard will increase your chances of success.
Taking swift action when your child starts struggling academically due to the stress of your divorce and shared custody arrangements could help you curtail the long-term negative consequences of their current struggles.