How Does Divorce Affect Your Child’s Academic Performance?

Most parents want the best for their children. However, there may come a time when you and your spouse no longer get along, and divorce is imminent. How do you put the children first, so that you can cushion them from the changes that might need to be made in the foreseeable future?

Many parents do not understand how their children’s education and general well-being are affected by divorce. Part of this is because children are different and tend to, therefore, be affected differently by similar things. A common reaction to divorce is a change in behavior. These changes might include:

  • Being withdrawn or non-participatory in class 
  • A decreased work ethic or a lack of effort in schoolwork
  • Lack of attention during class 
  • Problems with maintaining physical boundaries

These changes may affect your child’s well-being just as much as it may affect their academic performance. In school, your child might:

  • Get lower GPAs. Research on high school students showed that the children of divorced families tend to get 11% lower GPAs as compared to those from married-parent families
  • Have lower educational aspirations and produce low test scores during the divorce period
  • Risk being held back a grade

A sample study on the impact of divorce discovered that children from households with divorced parents recorded lower scores in spelling, reading, and math. They were also more likely to repeat a grade than children who came from married-parent families.

These discoveries lead to the conclusion that young adolescents and children suffer long-term negative effects due to the divorce of their parents.

With regard to age, a research study showed that younger children who experienced divorce are more likely to be more affected. That is, the younger your child is, the more he/she might be affected by your divorce. However, a similar study revealed that children who had experienced a divorce (in grade 6-10) usually got lower grades as compared to children who had gone through that experience much earlier in life.

Your Relationships are Important

In one study, results showed that 28% of children from married families received A’s in school, as compared to only 21% of children from cohabiting families. Children from divorced parent families, married stepfamilies, cohabiting stepfamilies, and those from a single parent background made up 18%, 15%, 11%, and 9%, respectively. 

Research also evaluated the involvement of parents in their adolescent child’s education. Children from married parent families cited their parent’s involvement, saying they wanted to know more about their school activities and friends as compared to children from single-parent backgrounds where there wasn’t much involvement.

Do the Best for Your Child

During a divorce, you may notice your child starts showing psychological, academic, behavioral, or drug-related problems. Your child’s teacher may say they are skipping classes. According to research, children from broken homes may not complete high school, choosing to drop out instead. This is mainly because of their living environment lacking the boundaries, routines, and stability that a married family’s household would have.

Being in constant communication with your child’s educator can help you be aware of how your child is behaving during your divorce as kids are more interactive in school. Creating a proactive routine that is consistent or based on your child’s specific needs with guidance from their teachers as well as guidance counselors is key to ensuring your child’s concerns – and needs – are being addressed. 

As a parent, you must stay involved in your child’s life and keep the communication lines open during and even after a separation or divorce. Doing so can help your child adjust to the changes and provide your child with a sense of foundation and security.

If you have children, your divorce affects more than you and your spouse. Your kids are also likely to be hard hit by it, so you should do everything possible to make this difficult time bearable for them. Seek professional help anytime you feel you are in over your head when it comes to helping your kids adjust to life with divorced parents.

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