Inside: read about co parenting birthday parties after divorce. Let’s discuss – should divorced parents spend birthdays together?
Seeing the breakup of a marriage is still shocking, despite the alarming levels of divorce in our and other countries. We know or, at least, we have the idea of the suffering that involves the separation of a couple. Children end up being the most affected. They may be too immature to understand what is happening, and especially to deal with feelings such as anger, fear, anxiety, guilt, longing, loss, sadness, and embarrassment. If these feelings deeply affect an adult, imagine what it will do to a child!
In homes where there are endless fights with physical and verbal aggression, where unhappiness reigns due to betrayals, alcohol abuse and other destructive practices, children will tend to have a mature posture, supporting their parents’ separation. If divorce is inevitable, parents need to be aware of their responsibility to ease their children’s suffering and save them as much as they can from greater suffering. One of the key debates in this area is about children’s birthdays after the divorce. This article shines a light on co-parenting in these situations.
The Importance of Birthdays
For children, the birthday celebration is an extremely important event. Often, they wait all year long for that day to come, and the whole family is filled with enthusiasm. We all love to celebrate life with a party and, according to experts, for children, it is extremely important to do so.
According to research by Dr. Jacqueline Woolley, from the University of Texas, for children, birthday parties have a direct relationship to the growth process. That is, a child who turns 3, if he does not have a celebration event – however simple it may be – will feel that he has not yet reached this age.
The research determined that, for preschoolers, the celebration of their birthday determines a causal role in the growth process, and for the little ones, the change from one year to the next occurs when a celebration is held. Without celebration, there is no growth, according to children’s perception.
So, after a divorce, it is of special importance that parents find a way to keep the tradition going. They must find ways to shield the child from their differences and create a happy celebratory environment. When a child sees how their parents anxiously prepare and plan their birthday party, their self-esteem rises, and they feel wanted and important in their role within the family. Birthday parties are the perfect time to get the family together and forge closer ties. In addition, it helps the child to appreciate the importance of meetings with loved ones on transcendental dates.
It is true that, in many families, celebrating their children’s birthday becomes difficult, financially. However, even if you can’t afford to have a birthday with lots of details (which is the case with a lot of divorced parents, who have seen their finances drained by the legal proceedings), believe that with little you can do a lot.
Of course, we all want the best birthday for our children, but if you do not have the financial possibility to do so, choose to have a smaller and more moderate party. But never decide not to celebrate. Your child needs this celebration. What counts is the environment of affection and joy, not the fact that mother and father are no longer together under the same roof.
Quality Over Quantity
In an effort to have the best party for our child, or at least the one he will remember forever, we focus too much on material things and do not give way to the child’s feelings and needs. This is especially true with divorced parents, as there is a lot of tendency to overcompensate a child with gifts other than real attention. This is a great mistake. Everything that parents do for their children’s birthday party is incredibly beautiful.
However, sometimes we forget that the real importance of a party is that the honoree feels pleased and happy on the day of his party, and this will not be proportional to the money you invest, but to the loving environment you feel. Remember that your personal feelings must be set aside for the sake of the child. The party is all about them and the fact that both parents are a vivid presence in their lives despite the circumstances.
A divorce is never easy, no matter how amicable the parting. But when children are involved, disputes can arise over something as simple as their birthdays. That is why divorce mediation is so important – it can provide an impartial understanding of children’s needs and parents’ perspectives to help create a resolution in which everyone’s needs are met. A good divorce mediator will ensure neither the birthday child nor the other parent feels slighted by arranging for both parties to have either joint or separate celebrations of the special day, whichever arrangement works best for that particular family. Divorce mediation provides a bridge between divorcees and a chance at peaceful co-parenting by ensuring all participants are regularly heard and equipped with the correct information.
It doesn’t happen to everyone, but it happens to seven out of ten marriages. Divorce – and the separation associated with it – is no longer a stigma. But as common as it may be, it never fails to be a difficult process. Celebrating an important event like a birthday doesn’t require fancy parties, or the most beautiful decorations, or the best-decorated cake in order to compensate a child for a divorce. Children need affection and the best presence of mind to celebrate this unique day. Putting your heart into every detail, and not your personal interests, means everything will be perfect.
Katherine Rundell is a professional writer at Australian Help and Essay Help services. As a divorcé herself who benefiting from the advantages of counseling, Katherine offers a valuable insight in her writings, along with the opportunity to be neutral and genuinely sensitive to what each parent and child is going through.
Join the Working Mom List
Join the Working Mom collective and get support and tools to help you thrive! Subscribers get access to my library of resources and printables.