Co-Parenting for Father's Day

The first modern observance of Father’s Day is believed to have taken place in the early 1900’s. It became an official permanent holiday in the United States in 1972 when President Richard Nixon signed it into law. It is intended to be a family-oriented celebration of a father’s commitment to parenting. In many divorced families, however, it is a source of tension, frustration, and anger.

Some divorced parents harbor resentful thoughts like: Dad doesn’t seem to want to spend time with the child the rest of the year; Mom always finds a way to mess up my special day with the child; the child doesn’t even want to spend time with Dad; Mom never encourages the child to spend time with me; Dad doesn’t even pay his child support; Mom never uses my child support payments for the child. They then inject these negative feelings and thoughts into the holiday plans.

The laws and the courts have stated clearly that parents are expected to make decisions in the best interests of their children. It is widely regarded that in most situations this includes fostering a good relationship with both parents, which includes liberal time sharing.

However difficult this may be, parents must avoid putting their children in the middle and to reassure their children that they are not responsible for either parent’s behavior. Here are 5.5 tips that may make sharing these types of holidays smoother:

1. Be considerate and respectful of each other as you plan ahead. Children shouldn’t be left on their own to plan for the holiday. Ask Mom to assist with a card or gift and offer to reciprocate on Mother’s Day and her birthday.

2. Place the value of the holiday on time spent together, not money. Read a story; Go for a walk; Go to a park; Go fishing.

3. Avoid expressing your own negative feelings about your co-parent to the children; rather, listen patiently to the children and express hopeful feelings for improvement.

4. When speaking of your co-parent, maintain a neutral tone.

5. Don’t use your children as weapons against each other for past bad behavior by denying parenting time, by making plans that interfere with parenting time, and by not adhering to the schedule that’s been arranged.

5.5 Don’t depend on one day a year to build or validate your relationship with your children. Create an open and caring relationship based on mutual respect throughout the year.

     Posted on June 1, 2009 at 12:36 pm | No comment

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