***Divorce Politics – 6 Tips to Handle Mother’s Day and Father’s Day after Divorce
By Carolyn B. Ellis http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/divorce_politics_6_tips_to_handle.html
Divorce and separation can mean that special family holidays, like Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, can end up being stressful and full of conflict. When you’re separated or divorced, what kind of role does the ex-spouse play in helping the children show that for their other parent?
Here are a few tips to ensure you can enjoy these special holidays!
1. Make a Plan in Advance
It’s important to be prepared in advance of Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Agreement on how to handle these days can be included as part of your parenting plan. If at all possible, it’s great when the children can spend at least some time with the parent who has the special day happening. Don’t leave who’s going to be where with whom until the last minute.
2. Be Prepared to Give and Take
Negotiating with a former spouse is never easy, but you can gain a lot of cooperation in the long-term by being willing to reciprocate. One good turn deserves another. If the children are scheduled to be with their Dad on Mother’s Day, ask if you can arrange a switch or at least a part of the day that the kids can be with Mom. Offer to reciprocate in kind when Father’s Day rolls around.
3. Keep The Children’s Best Interests in Mind
Keep your children’s best interests at the top of your priority list. Unfortunately there seem to be divorced parents out there who need reminding of this. If you have power struggles going on with your ex, use a divorce coach or other professional to work it out so you can keep your children out of the cross-fire. Put yourself in the shoes of your children and see what would serve them best in this situation.
4. Support Your Children To Celebrate the Other Parent
Children sometimes need help and encouragement to express their appreciation for their parent, particularly when they are young. Even though you may not feel like sending off a Happy Mother’s Day card yourself, your children will. Remind them that a special day is coming up and see what they need. Perhaps you can take them to the drug store to get a gift, or ensure they have supplies so they can make their own card.
5. Creating Special Moments
Ultimately Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are not about the gifts. It’s about creating and sharing special moments with Mom or Dad. Teach your children it isn’t necessary to “buy” a gift. Simple events like a board game, walk in the park, or preparing Mom or Dad breakfast in bed can be far more meaningful to both the parent and the child.
6. New Partners in the Picture
When Mom or Dad has someone new in the picture, should the children celebrate them too? It depends on the nature of the relationship. Follow your children’s lead in this department. If they want to include the new step-mom or step-dad, that’s great! If it feels awkward or disloyal to them, don’t force it upon them just because it might make you feel better.