June is a time of transitions and traditions. The flowers bloom and your children blossom – they go to proms, graduate high school or begin their new lives as adults by graduating college.
The pleasure of watching your child’s name called to the podium as he or she receives a diploma shouldn’t be marred by tension. Yet the sad reality is that for some people after a bitter divorce, every event with their ex present is stressful.
You can have a joyous graduation celebration with your child, even with your ex present:
Set the stage for your child’s graduation day long before the day approaches: The way you co-parent with your ex after your divorce, not just on special days, but every day, is affected by how you choose to divorce. Did you have a knockdown, drag out court fight that left everyone bitter, except the lawyers, who ended up with far too much of the family money? Does that mean you can’t even bare being in the same venue as your ex, never mind sitting near each other on graduation day?
Or did you choose to mediate your divorce, and discuss with a neutral mediator the most amicable way for you two to co-parent post-divorce?
Talk to your ex about the tasks that need to be done and clearly delineate who does what and who pays: Graduation is a time of tasks for the parents: procuring tickets and parking passes, making reservations for a meal after, moving children from dorms and apartments. Make sure you and your ex are on the same page beforehand about who takes care of these tasks and who pays, so that the day goes smoothly.
Breaking Bread to Mend Lives: I know of one adolescent who was convinced that after his parent’s divorce his mother and father would never eat a meal together. Yet, after graduation, everyone celebrated at one big family dinner: his mother and her new husband, his father and his father’s brother and sister-in-law. Even the boy’s friends. Now the boy forever has a memory of his parents together enjoying a day that was an important milestone in his life.
Graduation day is a joyous time that will be made more joyous knowing that you and your ex are putting your differences aside to make sure the day is special for your child.