Co-parenting successfully from grade school to graduation

Our last post discussed talking to your kids about divorce. Today, we’re going to jump ahead to the issue of co-parenting after divorce. Although opinions differ on many aspects of co-parenting, there is general agreement about one type of co-parenting scenario: attending public events your child is involved in.

When kids are young, divorced parents may have to attend parent-teacher conferences, school plays, music concerts and other events together. All things considered, being an audience member is among the easier activities you can engage in with your co-parent. And if you simply can’t get along, there’s no reason you can’t sit in different rows or different parts of the auditorium.

As your kids get older, they will continue to need and want this support. And if you have a teenager who will be graduating high school in the next few weeks, there is perhaps no better way to show your love and support than to set aside family drama and keep the focus on him or her.

There are any number of issues that could create conflict:

  • One parent doesn’t like their ex-spouse’s new significant other and doesn’t want them to attend
  • One parent wants to throw the at-home graduation party and the other parent is fighting them for it
  • One parent feels obligated to throw the graduation party and is mad that the other parent won’t contribute
  • One parent’s gift is too expensive and the other parent feels like it has turned into a contest
  • One parent feels he/she has given more financial and emotional support and doesn’t want the other parent to get equal credit

This is not an exhaustive list, but it certainly could be an exhausting one. The bottom line is simple: Your son or daughter’s graduation should be about them and what they have accomplished. The best gift you and your co-parent can offer is the gift of peace and civility.

Source: Pleasanton Patch, “Your Divorce Is Not Part Of Your Teen’s Graduation,” Michael Rubino, May 24, 2015

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