When parents choose to have a mediated divorce or at least resolve to make their divorce respectful and non-combative, they help set the tone for the rest of their lives as co-parents. That doesn’t mean, however, that there won’t be times when co-parenting won’t be challenging – particularly when you need to be together.
One of those times may be approaching very shortly. Whether your child is graduating from high school, college, medical school or even middle school, you and your co-parent owe it to them (and yourselves) to be there for the ceremony and celebrate their achievement.
That may not be easy – particularly if this is your first big event together since you separated. Even if you’re attending and sitting separately, you’ll both want to be with your child at some point before or after. You may feel like everyone’s watching you. (They’re not.) If your co-parent is bringing along your former in-laws or a new significant other, you may feel even more anxiety.
Remember that this is your child’s day
If you can talk beforehand with your co-parent about logistics like seating and guests, that can help prevent confusion and unwanted surprises. Don’t make your child get you separate seats. That might not be possible. It’s also easier for them to look out and see their family in one spot.
Let your child tell you what they’d like on this day. If they want a picture with both of you, smile proudly. They have enough to worry about, like not tripping on their gown and saying good-bye to friends, without being concerned that their parents will cause a scene.
The same applies to any celebratory gatherings. Let your child decide what they want to do. Their plans may not include either of you. They may or may not want two separate family brunches or dinners – or even one.
There will be more events in the years ahead
This is just the first of many times that you and your co-parent will both want to be part of an event in your child’s life. How you handle this can determine whether you’ll be invited to other graduations, weddings, grandchildren’s birthday parties and more.
Being able to divorce amicably and still get agreements that help you start this new chapter of your life on financially solid ground can help you better co-parent your child through everyday challenges and big events.