School Daze Part Four – The College Conundrum

The College Conundrum After Divorce

School Daze Part Four – The College Conundrum

School Daze: A Four-part series addressing the challenges kids face going back to school after their parents separate or divorce.

A divorce poses several dilemmas for kids about to head off for college. Instead of worrying about finding his way around campus or enrolling in her required classes, they may feel conflicted about leaving the family so soon after divorce.

Encouraging Independence

Even though college has been a long-time goal, young adults may feel they should be providing emotional support or helping to care for siblings. Some may even consider putting off college and taking a job to contribute financially. Or perhaps fear of leaving the nest or academic challenges is the motivator. Offer reassurance that they will do just fine and that what you need most is for them to stay on the course he’d planned.

Easing Financial Fears

College expenses, even without room and board, are substantial. If you didn’t have a plan to pay for school in place and you and your ex- disagree on how the expenses should be shared, your child may consider delaying college, not wanting to add to your financial burden. [If you use a divorce mediation service, these issues, plus many more concerning finances and co-parenting, can be negotiated and agreed upon. An excellent tool, used by Alpha Resource Center divorce mediation service, is the college career and cooperation contract, created by career counselor, Jo Leonard. ] You’ll need to work this out, either singly or together. You can get assistance through FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) scholarships, work-study and loans.

Being the Parent

Starting college changes a teen’s world by an order of magnitude. So does divorce. It’s a lot to assimilate and process. Anger, depression, anxiety can impact your teen’s physical heath, academic performance and social interactions. He may worry whether he can handle college on top of everything else. She may feel like isolating herself, rather than being forced to interact with a bunch of strangers. They only way to know how to help your child is to find out what are their concerns and what you can do to alleviate them. Take comfort that you’re teaching your child that no matter what happens, you’ll be able to handle it, and so will she.

©2017 Alpha Resource Center

For more resources about handling your child’s school issues after a divorce, you can read all the School Daze posts by clicking on these links: ‘A Child’s Perspective on Going Back to School after a Divorce,’ ‘Double Jeopardy: New Neighborhood, New School,’ and ‘What to Tell the Teacher.’


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