Back to School Confessions

08/17/2011 12:07 pm ET | Updated Oct 17, 2011

It's mid-August and parents are preparing for back-to-school time--shopping for backpacks, organizing school supplies, getting their kids on a better sleep schedule and more. But, for divorced parents, there may be an additional concern: time to tell the teachers about some sensitive family stuff, like "he's coming to school from a broken home." Geez.

What's the right amount of information to share your kids' teachers when it comes to giving her context for the kids' family situation? How much is too much? And what kind of insight does a teacher really need in relation to how your kid will perform/act/behave/ appear at school? This is a tough one.

I will definitely need to tell the teachers that my sons come from a divorced home and that he goes betweeen his dad's house and my house. But as the year goes on, I will worry how often will we be able to use the excuse of "He left his homework at his dad's..."

Does the teacher need to know their parents are divorced in case one of my son appear sad at school one day? What if she reads too much into it, and defines him too easily? I mean, he may just be bummed out one morning because we ran out of waffles.

He will be late for school sometimes, since he'll be coming from his dad's house farther away. Will she give him every "tardy" or let some go? He'll be tired some mornings, because he stayed up too late on a different bedtime schedule. He may be worried some days, because a soccer cleat for after-school practice is sitting at the wrong house.

I worry she will watch for signs of trouble that would be ignored elsewhere. Shouldn't that be a good thing? But I wonder: Will he be pegged a potential problem child because he comes from a broken home? If he lashes back at a bully on the playground, will the teacher nod her head in confirmation my son is angry about the divorce and leaning toward aggressive behavior?

I don't know how or when i'm supposed to approach my sons' teachers and announce i'm divorced. It seems kind of silly, but absolutely necessary.

I don't want special treatment for them, but I want understanding, context, and kindness for them. It looks like i'd better start crafting my talk for the teachers.