By David Tsai
Q How do I handle situations in which a child’s parents are divorced?
First and foremost, it is important to take the time to find out who the custodial parent is, as this is the person to whom all correspondence should be directed. This is also the parent you would invite to meetings and make primary contact with when needed.
It is also crucial to be aware of your student’s potential discomfort regarding his or her family situation. For example, any letters sent home can be addressed to ‘the parents or guardians of’ the student, rather than merely to ‘the parents.’ Try to avoid making statements such as, “If you continue to forget your work, I will need to call your mother.” Substitute words such as ‘family’ or ‘home’ to avoid hurting your student’s feelings.
You must also be sensitive to the times of the year that may be more stressful for children of divorced parents. Holidays, in particular, may bring out latent fears and concerns in children. Also keep in mind that other events held at your place of business (e.g. holiday parties, social events) might cause issues, especially if both parents attend.
Read the full article: Ask the Experts: Working with Children