Tips on Co-Parenting Graduates and Brides
As graduation draws near, many divorced or and separated parents are experiencing conflicting emotions. They find themselves facing important events in their child’s life that requires the presence of both parents. When two people have a child together, there are certain celebrations like graduation and weddings that the child will want to spend with both parents. Being able to set aside any animosity for the occasion can make all the difference for the child. Navigating this type of territory can be uncomfortable at best, but it can be done. If you find yourself co-parenting a bride or a groom or a graduate, there are a few tips that could help.
Co-Parenting On Special Occasions:
- Sitting Together: If possible, sit together. It will make your child happy to see the two people they love most in one place. Avoid taking on any big issues during any public event or celebration but try to make small talk to avoid any stony silences.
- Create Buffers: If you need to limit your contact with each other, create some buffers. Offer to arrive early and save your ex a seat. This will avoid the need for both of you to arrive early and spend the thirty minutes or so before the event begins having stilted one-on-one conversation. By offering to arrive early and save seats and allowing your ex to show up just before starting time, you avoid can avoid a lot of the strain preceding the event. Invite other people to attend. Depending on the situation, additional attendees can mean sitting in a larger group with little need to actually talk with your ex. Keep in mind that it is not helpful to invite a buffer guest or group if they are going to spend the time glaring at your ex or bringing up contentious topics.
- Celebrating After the Event: If there is a shared meal or party to attend as a family after the event, continue to aim for a low-key attitude towards your ex. Keep the conversation light and friendly. Engage your child. Celebrate the day’s event. If there are other relatives in attendance, invite them along. It can make things easier and more celebratory for your child.
- When Co-Parents Cannot Get Along: If you and your ex simply cannot sit together, you need to figure out how to survive the event without a blow-up. Sit where you want and don’t look around to see where your ex is. Pinpointing your ex will only provide you with a location to aim your animosity whether it is purposeful or unintentional. Instead of worrying about where your ex is at, focus on your child. Focus on their excitement and the event as it happens. Bring a guest, friend or family member so you have someone to talk to while you’re celebrating your child’s graduation, wedding or other special occasion. If it is necessary that you attend the event alone, stay busy responding to texts or emails, take a book or take your people-watching to the next level with some in-depth analysis of what everyone is wearing. Just make sure you have something to occupy your mind during the time before the event actually begins.
- Separate Celebrations: If both you and your ex are planning to meet up with your child after the event to offer congratulations, keep the focus on your child. Try to have minimal engagement with your ex if you are not able to be civil. If it’s possible, be pleasant to your ex. Say hello and goodbye. Do not make any jabs, reference any past behavior or throw out any insults. It is essential that the interactions stay non-confrontational so your child can feel more comfortable. If you and your ex cannot handle a meal or celebration together post-event, plan separate celebrations. For example, you can each hold a graduation party for your families on different days or one of you can take the graduate to dinner with your family before the event while the other hosts a graduation party after the ceremony.
Regardless of whatever else occurs and what the specifics are in your situation, remember that during special occasions, you should be focused on your child. Anything you can do to maintain that focus and limit conflict of any kind will be extremely beneficial in helping them enjoy their important milestones and remember the day positively.
If you are divorced or planning to file for divorce and you aren’t sure how you are going to manage co-parenting with your ex, please get in touch with one of the California family law attorneys at The Maggio Law Firm today.