Sunday, January 8, 2023
HomeEducation NewsHomeroom: When Divorced Dad and mom Have Totally different Guidelines

Homeroom: When Divorced Dad and mom Have Totally different Guidelines

squiggly pencil

Editor’s Observe: Each Tuesday, Abby Freireich and Brian Platzer take questions from readers about their youngsters’ training. Have one? Electronic mail them at

Expensive Abby and Brian,

I’m a stepparent to a second grader (let’s name her Ella) who’s in full-time digital college. Her father and I share custody of Ella 50–50 together with her mom and her mom’s boyfriend. When Ella is at her mom’s home, she by no means completes her schoolwork. This sample has been occurring for months.

From what we perceive, her mom has given Ella the impression that the schoolwork is non-compulsory, and this conflicts with our making an attempt to show Ella about intrinsic motivation and the significance of following via on issues that could be difficult or boring initially. When we’ve got confronted her mom, we hear that she is “too busy” to handle Ella’s schoolwork, though Ella tells us that they usually play video video games collectively all through the day. Aside from that, Ella received’t focus on with us the explanations the work isn’t getting accomplished and shuts down emotionally once we ask.

I perceive that there could also be a distinction in worth techniques between the 2 households, and that Ella could be a bit younger for the beliefs of non-public duty we are attempting to impress upon her. That stated, I’m simply bored with Ella having to atone for the week’s schoolwork when she arrives right here, because it places a damper on her temper (even once we don’t ask about it). We’ve seen this sample of failure to finish homework assignments since kindergarten, so sadly we don’t consider this difficulty will go away as soon as she returns to in-person studying.

What ought to we do?

North Carolina

Expensive Nameless,

So many mother and father whose kids are in shared custody expertise the frustration and powerlessness you expressed. And kids like Ella are caught within the center, making an attempt to barter between inconsistent units of requirements. To find an answer, you’ll must do what you possibly can to indicate her that the adults in her life are working collectively for her sake.

Reaching frequent floor with Ella’s mom could also be troublesome, however we advocate giving it one other shot. Whereas your intuition to be upset about Ella’s taking part in video video games in the course of the day is comprehensible, the scenario doesn’t essentially imply that Ella’s mom is detached to Ella’s homework. She could be utilizing this time to attach with Ella between examine classes, for instance. Regardless, attempt to not ask Ella about why her work isn’t getting accomplished at her mother’s, as doing so could inadvertently trigger her to really feel that she has to select sides.

As an alternative, do your greatest to provide Ella’s mom the good thing about the doubt and—as difficult as it could be—attempt to begin one other dialog together with her for Ella’s sake. You point out in your letter that when you have got “confronted” Ella’s mom, she’s stated she is just too busy to assist Ella handle her workload. Fairly than approaching Ella’s mom confrontationally, begin off by acknowledging that every one 4 of you seemingly have loads in your plate and that you simply all have Ella’s greatest pursuits at coronary heart. Starting the dialog this fashion—expressing empathy and emphasizing shared targets—offers you a greater likelihood to brainstorm easy techniques to place in place in each homes. Attempt to talk your observations fairly than judgments: Ella has been upset when she has to sort out quite a lot of schoolwork directly, and also you’d like to collaborate on a system to assist her really feel much less overwhelmed.

For those who’re not in a position to agree on what’s anticipated of Ella, speaking together with her instructor would possibly assist. She will make the expectations for schoolwork completely clear with out arbitrating amongst relations. Maybe you or Ella’s father might attain out to her instructor, clarify the scenario, and ask that she ship a basic e-mail to the category with reminders about homework necessities. This message will give each households a shared understanding of what Ella’s schoolwork entails.

If Ella’s mom stays dismissive, you might ask the instructor to cross alongside suggestions to the 4 of you for a way greatest to help Ella academically. For instance, her instructor would possibly counsel a digital calendar for Ella to trace each day and long-term assignments at each your own home and her mom’s. Ideas from the instructor shall be much less charged than your individual, and Ella’s mom will seemingly be extra amenable to listening to them.

For those who nonetheless discover having an open dialog with Ella’s mom too troublesome, contemplate consulting a therapist. Working with a 3rd get together educated in all these discussions could be the easiest way to guard Ella from stress between households whilst you work collectively to discover a answer. That is an important message you possibly can impart to Ella: that regardless of completely different worth techniques and completely different households, her mother and father are working collectively as a result of their love for her is finally each what unites them and, most vital, what’s going to maintain her.

By submitting a letter, you might be agreeing to let The Atlantic use it—partially or in full—and we could edit it for size and/or readability.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

Recent Comments