Schools get pulled into the marital conflict between parents when both the mother and the father try to exercise their rights on the child, said heads of institutions.
The conflict between parents often leads to anxiety, phobia, low self-esteem in the child, said teachers. For the sake of the child’s well being there should be shared parenting, rather than parental alienation, said teachers and those who work for the rights of the child.
Several schools have received requests or even instructions from one parent not to allow the child to meet or even interact with the other parent or be allowed in class groups during online sessions. Not all of them are divorced and there are instances when they are separated or not staying together, said heads.
“Parents come and tell us that the other parent should not be allowed in online class groups or be called for parent-teacher meetings. We as educators feel that both parents should have rights to the child,” said Suman Sood, director, BD Memorial and national core committee member of Early Childhood Association, a forum of preschools for pre-primary education.
Sood was a speaker at a seminar on Child Protection-Shared Parenting, organised on Friday by Ayushman Initiative for Child Rights (AIFCR).
“We see children being traumatised because of marital discord between parents but on most occasions, they cannot speak for themselves. At times there is a tendency of developing antagonistic feelings for the non-custody parent or the parent with whom the child is not staying,” said Arijit Mitra, honorary secretary of AIFCR.
“Shared parenting can play a pivotal role to minimise these problems,” he said.
Kids take part in the 3rd All Bengal Yoga Talent Championship at Sarat Sadan in Howrah on Sunday.Gautam Bose
Several schools The Telegraph spoke to said they have faced such issues in school and have seen a change in the children and their confidence level. Early Childhood Association recently published a document on the impact of parental alienation on children and the need for a policy on child guardianship.
“The parental separation/divorce issue has also burdened schools as each year many parents have been approaching the school to refuse sharing the child’s school-related records (like calendars, report cards) and activities with child’s other parent...,” the document says.
At least one school — South City International School made a change in the application form for admission this year and added a column where parents have to write whether they are single/ separated/ divorced.
“We decided to include a separate column so that we know the status. If either parent fills up a form and say they are married and the other parent cannot be present for the interaction, we ask the other parent to give us in writing the reason of their absence. It has happened in the past that the absent parent has objected to the child being admitted without his/her knowledge,” said John Bagul, principal of South City International School.