In the coming weeks, kids all across California will be saying goodbye to parents and heading off to college. As much as kids may be looking forward to this next chapter, it can be hard on their parents.
This transition can be especially tough for recently-divorced parents who may still be adjusting to life after divorce. To make this difficult time a little easier, parents in this situation can take a few steps to address the changes that happen when a child goes to college.
- Talk about finances ahead of time. Few things are more stressful than paying for a child's college, and trying to coordinate financial contributions and responsibilities with an ex can make everything that much more trying. As such, you should make college finances a part of your parenting plan discussion during your divorce. Talk about what each parent will contribute and how long the contributions will last.
- Coordinate schedules. Who will drop a child off at college? Who will attend parent events, and when will parents visit campus? You might divide the events so you don't show up at the same ones; if you will both attend, set ground rules for what you will and won't do to make the situation less awkward. Making sure you are on the same page can alleviate stress for you and your child, while also ensuring he or she can rely on parental support.
- Stay focused on your child's needs. Remember that college is an incredible opportunity for your child. A recent divorce of their parents can affect them in ways you (and they) may not expect, especially as they go through their own transition. Even though a child may not be living at home, parents can still prioritize his or her needs. Keep lines of communication open and focus on taking steps to make his or her college experience as positive as possible.
College is an exciting and overwhelming experience, for both students and parents. Working out any divorce-related issues that relate to your child ahead of time can make the transition a little easier on everyone.