Question of the week: Why are some kids of divorce excited about school while others aren’t?


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It seems we have several kids of divorce who just aren’t excited about school. Other kids of divorce seem over-the-top excited. What’s the deal with these kids? It seems like I’m on a merry-go-round, and I’m not sure when to get off and which kids need my help the most.

Kids who don’t want to go to school

Many children of divorce are not excited about school. Some might not want to go to school because

  • Their parents argue about school issues.
  • Co-parenting issues weren’t resolved over the summer or throughout the fall.
  • Their parents can’t agree on after-school care, and the child has had to change after-school child care arrangements several times.
  • Their parents can’t agree on school transportation.
  • Both parents want to be there for the child and stand their ground on taking the child to school activities themselves.
  • The child is afraid his “warring” parents will embarrass him in front of his peers and teachers. I’ve seen divorcing parents get into arguments in front of the school. Loud voices and angry faces on the adults in one’s life don’t make for a good start to a school day.

Kids who do want to go to school

Other kids of divorce seem almost over-eager to get school started. There are reasons for their over-the-top excitement.

  • For some kids, going to school is an escape from the divorce. They don’t have to think about the divorce at school.
  • Some kids use their grades as bargaining tools. They try their best to make good grades in order to get the attention of one parent. Usually, it is the parent who moved out.
  • Some children want order in their lives. Going to school provides that much needed order.
  • Many children of divorce are lonely. Going to school provides them with friends and opportunities to be with other people.

Struggling single parents

Some single parents have a hard time dealing with the logistics if they have more than one child to get ready for school. When the single parent is upset, it will affect the children. Many single parents don’t realize their nervousness will be reflected in their children’s perception of a good school year. There are reasons single parents struggle:

  • The single parent has more than one child and difficulty getting to both open houses on the same night.
  • The single parent is overwhelmed with the start of school and the organization it takes to get the kids motivated and ready for the start of school, and the parent just never seems to catch up during the school year.
  • The cost of supplies is many times more than the single parent can manage.
  • Time away from work may affect the single parent’s paycheck at the end of the month.
  • The single parent worries about how to manage the kids and their homework, school schedule, parent meetings, etc., while alone.

Once you understand some of the issues children of divorce face, you can pray for the specifics in each child’s life. You can also consider how to help the child and the single parent during the school year.


This article is updated and adapted from an article originally published on the Kids & Divorce blog on August 25, 2014.

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