Now that the new school year has begun, it won’t be long before parent-teacher conferences roll around. If this is the first school year since your separation or divorce, you may be dreading the idea of sitting in a classroom with your ex or soon-to-be-ex discussing your child with their teacher.
Divorced parents sometimes choose to meet separately with their children’s teachers — particularly if your relationship is still conflict-ridden. However, it’s typically best for the child when both parents can be in the same meeting, hearing the same thing and discussing issues, goals and expectations involving their child together.
It’s an hour or less of your life, but when you’re discussing your child with someone outside the family, emotions can run high. Here are some tips for a successful parent-teacher conference with your co-parent.
Talk with your co-parent before the meeting.
Go over any questions or concerns you want to bring up as well as what you want to get out of the conference. If a new spouse or significant other is actively involved in the child’s life, you can discuss whether they should attend.
Inform the teacher before the conference that you’re not living together.
This can help minimize awkwardness at the beginning of the conference. The teacher can also prepare by making separate copies of documents for each of you. It may also better help them provide guidance.
Don’t blame your co-parent for your child’s problems.
If your child is having problems at school, don’t blame your co-parent, even if it’s their fault. This meeting needs to be about your child.
Remain calm and respectful.
Don’t let your ex push your buttons. Every minute you spend arguing is one less minute you’re discussing your child and what you can do to help them.
If your child is having serious issues that are impacting their education, it may be necessary to make modifications to your parenting plan to address them. If that’s the case, talk with your family law attorney about how best to address them.