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  • 5 Sticky School Situations and How Solo Parents Deal with it

    No marriage certificate? “Incomplete” family photo? Our experts share the best way to deal with these things.
    by Rachel Perez .
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    Sticky situation # 3: My child’s teacher asked the class to bring a family photo. Is it okay to submit a family photo of just two? How about bringing Lola and Tito to the family day?
    “We try to teach the kids now that not all families are the same, that some families don't have daddies, or mommies. Of course, it's okay for kids to bring pictures of just one parent if the other isn't really present in the home setting, or a picture with the extended family for that matter, because most of the time with single-parent families, extended family members are usually very involved in the kid's life. So instead of focusing on families being just daddies and mommies, we also teach the kids about the broader concept of family, like lolos and lolas, titos and titas, etc. What I try to focus on is the fact that we all have families, regardless of who its members are,” Mendoza explains.

    Gracia says, even families with both moms and dads still bring along extended family members to graduations and family-day events, and that’s fine. “We just remind them to be considerate of other parents and we also have to keep in mind the total capacity of the venue for safety purposes,” she quips.

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    Sticky situation # 4: There’s an upcoming dad-and-son camping activity in school. What’s the best set-up for a solo-parent household like ours?
    “Some schools actually recognize the fact that not all kids have both parents available for these activities—and that’s not just because of solo-parent families. There are moms and dads who work abroad, too, and so they allow the other parent to participate,” says Gracia. Though there may be specific reasons why an activity is meant for dads or moms, “if you and your child couldn’t attend one, then make sure you join the next one and make it count,” she suggests. Mendoza adds that schools normally allow any prominent male figure in the child’s life, maybe a lolo or a tito, to take the place of the dad.


    Sticky situation # 5: How can we make sure there won’t be mix-ups on fetching schedules between me and my ex-husband?
    The scenario: Mom is scheduled to fetch the child Mondays to Thursdays, and then it’s Dad’s turn on Fridays. But sometimes, fixing a schedule is not that easy. “What we usually require in situations like this is for the parents to agree between themselves and inform us ahead of time what arrangement the school will follow to avoid any mix-ups. Otherwise, the child will not be released to any other fetcher apart from the assigned one. We usually call the parents before releasing the kid to unassigned fetchers,” Mendoza explains.
     
    Some have it worse in cases of nasty break-ups (“His Dad should not be anywhere near my child or his school!"). Both our experts agree that it’s always best to talk to the teacher about “special” situations like these, but the goal is to let the kid from a solo-parent family get some kind of normalcy at home and in school, just like any other child whose parents are both involved, who shuttles from one home to another, or is adopted. Gracia explains, “It’s really not our business what happens to your marriage or at home. But when it starts to affect the child’s school performance, either in his grades or behavior, then it becomes a concern for us,” Mendoza adds. “As teachers, we don't just focus on the child's academic performance. As surprising as it may sound, we try to help the kids learn how to deal with certain situations in life.”

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    Image from visualphotos.com

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