Tips for Fathers

When you are sharing custody, following a divorce, events such as birthdays and holidays can be tough, though they will get easier as time passes.  Some families choose to spend time together, even after a divorce, though this also, usually, takes time. 

You should make a basic parenting agreement with your wife that covers where the kids will spend birthdays and holidays and how you will deal with any changes.  Not creating a plan will create room for a lot more arguments. 

The following are tips for dealing with birthdays and holidays:

1) Try to be flexible, always keeping the needs of your children first.  The best thing that you can do for their birthdays and holidays is keep conflict to a minimum.

2) Plan ahead, as events need even more forethought than they did while you lived with your wife.  Giving your children’s mom time to think about any proposals and events ahead of time will be greatly appreciated.

3) Generosity and kindness are key; even if that means keeping your mouth shut and simply smiling.  Avoid putting children in awkward positions and allow them to share about their time with your ex-wife, even helping them shop for other family members.

4) Always keep your word, especially when it comes to promises made regarding birthdays and holidays.

5) Allow the children to be part of the planning of events.  Ask them their opinion and let them know that it counts.

6) One possible solution is to have two parties for the children.  One at your house and one at their mom’s house.  However, make sure that the plans for this are made in advance, that your ex-wife knows about it and agrees with it, and that it does not become a competition for who “loves the children more.”

7) Do not overindulge the children.  Guilt over the divorce often results in father’s be overly generous with gifts or money, which is unhealthy in their relationship with their children.

8) Take care of yourself, especially if you are alone.

9) Do not try to recreate life as it was before divorce. You can create new and satisfying traditions for holidays and birthdays.

10) In the event that you remarry or enter into a new committed relationship, make sure that you bring your children into this family, celebrating all children equally and finding ways to incorporate everyone’s lives and traditions.