I recently overheard a conversation at the school playground this morning which I thought I would share with you.
A boy, whose parents are currently going through divorce (I know this as one of the parents has talked to me about their situation) was telling another child about his birthday.
He explained that on the day itself, he had half the day with his mother and then went over to his dad’s for the rest of the day and he hated it – the split that is.
He said he wished he would have stayed with one of them on this day and then go to the other’s another day. He is 9 years old.
Splitting the day in two didn’t work for him and to be honest many children just don’t like changing gears, especially on special occasions.
There’s nothing more difficult than putting your own wishes and desires aside for the sake of the children than when going through divorce. Both parents obviously wanted to spend the day with their child. That’s what they wanted and that’s what they got.
That’s not what he wanted but that’s what he got.
If they keep this type of arrangement for the rest of their divorced life, you can imagine how much this boy will not be looking forward to his birthday for a few years to come.
Birthdays are not about you, they really aren’t. They are about swallowing your pride, your vengeful thoughts, your anger and hurt and making this day, all about your children.
Big deal if you don’t get to spend the day he was born with your child. Celebrate it with her or him when you next see them. You won’t like it but they will still love it. They will still enjoy it.
Alternate if you need to – one year you have your child on her birthday, the next the other parent does.
There are so many options as to how to handle birthdays and holidays and what works for one family might not for another but the easiest way to figure out what to do, is to literally keep your child in mind. What is it that will make them happy, comfortable and free from conflict and tension? Now go and do it.
I’m finding it hard to imagine a greater gift.
If you have a system that has worked really well for you and your family, share it with others here.
If your struggling with any aspect of your co-parenting arrangement, let me know – 07850 85 60 66.
About the Author
Soila is the founder of The Divorce Magazine and creator of the five-star-rated online course – Helping Children Cope with Divorce
She is known for taking away the pain of trauma and loss in children, adolescents and their families and is the author of “When Love is Broken. A read-together book for children and parents going through divorce and separation.
Soila holds an MSc in Psychoanalytic Developmental Psychology from UCL (University College London), is an accredited Positive Parenting Program (Triple P) practitioner and a trained Family Mediator.
Soila is Graduate Member of the British Psychological Society.
You can contact her on 07850 85 60 66 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org