If the upcoming school year will be the first since your separation or divorce, you’re likely concerned about how you and your co-parent can remain involved in your child’s education and activities while minimizing your interaction with each other. One area of particular concern for many newly separated parents is parent-teacher conferences.
While you may be able to arrange for separate conferences with your child’s teacher, it’s typically better for parents to attend them together, even if one “attends” via video chat or phone. This way, you hear the same information, which can help you stay on the same page when it comes to understanding any difficulties your child may be having. Further, it shows your child and their teacher that you remain united as co-parents even though you’re no longer together as a couple.
Here are a few suggestions for having productive and civilized parent-teacher conferences after divorce.
Communicate and prepare prior to the meeting
Even if you do this via a co-parenting app rather than by email, phone or face to face, it’s a good idea to discuss anything you’d like to ask or address with the teacher.
Don’t accuse or blame your co-parent
This may be tempting to do – especially if your co-parent isn’t as strict about homework and grades as you are. However, it’s a waste of time and energy to do it in front of their teacher. Keep the focus on your child and what the two of you can do to help them.
If you can’t sit down together, don’t
If you can’t be sure that you and/or your co-parent can control your anger or other emotions enough to sit down with a teacher and discuss your child, it may be better not to try – particularly if you have a verbally or emotionally abusive co-parent. Sometimes, teachers can accommodate requests for two separate conferences. However, they may not have time.
With one or both of you attending virtually, you can keep the temperature down. However, you still need to be respectful of your co-parent and keep in mind the suggestions here so that these conferences can benefit your child – which is their purpose.
If you’re made aware of issues that you need to address as co-parents, you may want to include them in your parenting plan to help ensure that you’re focused on the same parenting goals.