One of the most challenging aspects of divorce for parents is how to share celebrations in their children's lives -- from birthdays to graduations to weddings. Parents and other family members from both sides often find a way to put their animosity aside and share in these momentous occasions. However, the smaller celebrations should not be neglected.
Children need to be able to celebrate more everyday achievements with both parents. These can include a good report card, the memorization of a particularly difficult piano piece, making the tennis team, getting braces off and anything that makes them happy and proud of themselves.
When parents share custody of their kids, they're going to miss out on some of these important moments in their kids' lives. However, by working together as co-parents, they can help their kids share them with both parents.
Make sure that your kids feel free to share their achievements even when they happened while they were with your ex. Maybe your child took his first run down an advanced ski slope during winter break. Perhaps he or she won a school spelling bee that you weren't able to attend.
Conversely, if your child accomplishes something while with you, encourage him or her to tell your co-parent right away. Kids should be able to share their joy with both parents without fearing that one will feel hurt or left out.
By learning to celebrate these milestones as co-parents, you can more easily share in the larger events when they occur. If you're using a co-parenting app, there are ways for the two of you to share them when they happen -- from a tooth falling out to a first slumber party -- without having direct communication with your ex if that's problematic.
If you feel that you're being left out of too many of these milestones, try talking to your co-parent. If that's not working, your family law attorney may be able to offer some guidance or even recommend some changes to your parenting plan that can help.
Source: Our Family Wizard, "Allowing Celebration to Bridge Two Houses," accessed Jan. 30, 2018