A High School Teacher’s Perspective on Students Surviving a Divorce or Separation

Nelson & Davis, LLC invited Seth Larson, a high school teacher, as a guest writer on our blog to discuss his experiences with divorce in the classroom.

Divorce is tough. That is obvious. From the heart-wrenching start through the grueling and sometimes ugly process, everybody involved will feel the pain at some point. The only thing worse than going through a divorce, is going through a divorce with children. The effect it can have on your kids education and future can be irrecoverable, but it doesn’t have to be. As a high school teacher and coach of 10 years, I have witnessed students from split families struggle and I have also seen students excel. What it boils down to in the end is finding civility during and after the storm and putting your kids’ best interests ahead of any hostility for your spouse.

Often times we are inundated with stories about the negative affect divorce can have on children, most notably their academic and social well being. Looking back at my many experiences, divorce alone is NOT the reason children struggle. The majority of instances stem from two parents incapable of looking beyond their own personal resentment for one another and depriving their children of the fundamental support they need. I have had meetings with parents where the focus digresses from the student to their own personal issues, sometimes escalating into full-blown arguments. This not only humiliates children, but infuriates them. By focusing on your own agenda, you are trivializing your child’s best interest and pushing them away forcing them to find support in other places. I have also been on the other end of the spectrum where separated or divorced parents enforce consistent guidelines and expectations, giving their children the foundation they need to succeed. Any child who sees consistent structure and support from their parents, divorced or together, are given the opportunity they deserve to excel.

We all know that divorce is sometimes the healthiest and safest option for couples. Too often couples stay together “for the kids” and live in utter misery and resentment, creating an environment more damaging to their children then they realize.   If divorce is the route you are considering, or have already taken, do your kids a favor during this tough time and be adults. They only get one chance at youth, and success, divorce doesn’t take that away…bitterness does.

-Seth Larson, High School Teacher