Little Rock (KATV) — Back to school time is stressful no matter what, but if you are a single parent, the experience can be a lot to process. Newly single parents have to navigate a whole new world, while other single parents may have to make updates and changes to their parenting plan.
Counselor Andrea Fresh, LCSW with Collaborative Counseling Associates in Little Rock says there are ways to make the back to school process as smooth as possible for all involved.
Fresh says you can successfully manage co-parenting with your ex-spouse by putting the child's needs first. Parents should put their needs and any tensions between the other spouse second. They should also not have adult conversations in front of the child.
"We know all relationships are not amicable, so there may be some tensions, some feeling but working really hard to put those needs second," Fresh said.
Fresh says you have to "manage emotions" and that back to school is a stressful time on the child, too.
Fresh says it's also a great idea to have a parenting plan and map out what a school day looks like for the custodial parent and how to include the non-custodial parent. It's also a good idea to make sure both parents have access to their education information.
Fresh says it's so important for single parents to stay active and engaged in their child's education. The biggest is key to make the child feel loved and supported no matter what.
"It's ok to bring in support and maybe family counseling," she said.
If the other parent isn't meeting their obligations, Fresh says to not express those frustrations to the child. Also, make sure you have an extensive support system to help fill in the gaps.
If you'd like more help, you can reach out to Fresh at CollabCounseling.org.