When the family unit breaks down the stress is not only placed on the parents but also any children of the family. When parties separate it generally means that one parent will leave the family home and any children will either remain living with that parent or move with the other parent to a new home.
In some cases children will even be separated. This is unsettling for children to say the least and will have an impact on the children’s relationship with both parents. This can have an emotional impact as well as impact on school work and behaviour.
We are commonly asked by clients whether they should inform their child’s school and other care providers about the breakdown of the relationship and any change in care and living arrangements for the children.
"... because schools are within the Department of Education and Child Development, any information provided to them should be dealt with in a professional and confidential manner. "
Understandably, people are reluctant to share such information as the breakdown of the relationship is a very private and personal matter and people do not want other members of the wider community knowing about their private lives. Our view is that because schools are within the Department of Education and Child Development, any information provided to them should be dealt with in a professional and confidential manner.
Given the impact it can have on children and their schoolwork it can be beneficial to let the school known about the breakdown of the relationship. We have found that schools commonly deal with such issues in a very understanding way and are able to provide support to a child in this situation.
Most schools have counsellors who can meet with the child and their teachers can monitor the child to ensure they have a support network at school and also keep an eye on any changes in their school work or behaviour so that those issues can be addressed to reach the best outcome for the child.
By informing your child’s school it would be hoped the school can provide a stable support network for a child who temporarily may not have stability outside of school.
It is important for parties to be careful in what they do tell the school and what their expectations of the school should be. In no way should the parents attempt to involve the school in any parenting dispute.
You may find our article “How do separated parents arrange school pickup?” helpful.