Over the weekend thousands of fathers celebrated Father’s Day with their children. Sadly, there were many deserving fathers who did not get this wonderful opportunity. Simply because they are separated or divorced.
When you think about it there are many holidays throughout the year where children want to spend time with their parents. Easter, Mother’s Day, summer holidays, Christmas to name a few. For the children of divorced and separated couples, this may not possible due to issues that their parents have with each other after a messy split.
By the time couples go through a divorce a lot of them end up harbouring such high levels of animosity against each other that they no longer wish to participate in any activities together and their children’s feelings end up being nothing more but collateral damage.
Best Interests of the Children are Paramount
The passing of Father’s Day is a good time to reflect upon these issues. Consider what it was like for fathers/mothers who are desperate to see their children but are unable to.
We have encountered many people who have refused to give contact to their partners. They have various reasons, but very rarely do these reasons have anything to do with their children or their safety and wellbeing. Issues such as money and historic marital issues usually feature high on the agenda.
These are complicated issues. All parties including the children are victims to some respect. The purpose of Divorce Negotiator is not to blame either party. We all have our own reasons; the purpose is to focus the minds back to the children. Birthdays, Mother/Father’s Day, Christmas are occasions that once united your family. You encouraged your children to celebrate them. Now that the dynamics have changed, do your best to continue them.
How to Manage Special Occasions
Child contact is an issue unlinked to all the issues that went through your divorce. So, in the spirit of the up and coming holidays, we remind all parents to think back to when you were a child. Remember your children when making decisions on their behalf. Here are some useful tips on helping you and your children through these occasions:
Take your Child’s Lead
As the event draws closer ask your children what they would like to do to acknowledge the occasion. Let the child decide without your input, what they feel and what they want to do.
Communicate as Parents
Communicate with the other parent and set up a suitable time and date for the children to spend with them. If this is not possible on the day of the event, it is ok to organise an alternative day. Get them to talk to each other on the phone or skype. Failing all this, they can still post a letter or send a gift.
If you are dealing with a difficult partner, who is unlikely to see the child, make the day all about the child. A trip to the zoo, movies, the park it will help reassure them that they still have you.
Talk to your children about their feelings about how the planned event went and what they would like to do next.
Parents with No Contact
If you are unlikely to see your child due to a difficult ex-partner, then seek advice. In the meantime, write a letter or send a card to your children to let them know that you are thinking about them.
It is the simple things that help your children to cope with divorce and separation. Help them to appreciate that the only thing that has ended is their parent’s relationship and not the parental relationship. Your child still needs you both and putting your differences aside is really for the best interest of the children.