Paula Lock Smyth Law Offices
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and when he is old,
he will not depart
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Proverbs 22:6

Tips for divorced parents to make it through the school year

As fall quickly approaches, many Dallas-area children and parents alike feel anxious about the impending start of a new school year. For divorced parents, anxiety often centers around having to deal with an ex-spouse about dreaded topics including homework and parent-teacher conferences. Many parents may have different views on school-related matters, for divorced parents, these differences can lead to a breakdown in communication which ultimately negatively impacts a son or daughter.

In an effort to head-off conflict, it's wise for divorced parents to discuss certain school-related matters prior to the start of the school year. One of the most-dreaded of all school-related topics often centers around homework and school projects.

While many parents likely dislike homework just as much as their child, for divorced parents, communicating about how to help a child complete and succeed in the homework war is imperative. Many parents often relay stories of so-called homework battles. If a child doesn't have consistently and clear expectations with regard to homework, meltdowns can quickly occur. It's important, therefore, that divorced parents set clear expectations with regard to when, where and how homework is done.

Many school-age children eventually want to participate in some type of school sport or after-school club. While often viewed as beneficial to a child, divorced parents would be wise to ensure they are well-informed of the financial and time commitments associated with such activities. In many cases, divorced parents who share custody fail to realize that a child's participation in a school sport will effectively cut into the amount of time that parent is able to spend with a child. To avoid potential conflict, divorced parents would be wise to gather information prior to a child's participation and set limits on the number of activities in which a child is involved.

As the school year approaches, divorced parents should take a deep breath and reach out to one another to discuss school-related topics. Discussing these topics now can help divorced parents avoid conflict as the school year progresses.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Co-Parenting Tips for Kicking Off This New School year On The Right Foot," Diane L. Danois, J.D., Aug. 12, 2013