Sometimes it’s the subtle things we do over time that reflect integrity in our children’s eyes.”
My husband is an amazing Dad. So when Father’s Day rolls around I usually get just as excited as my kids about making the day extra special. The thing I love most about Father’s Day – that indescribable mixture of self-pride and excitement my kids get when they give my husband that special something they either created or picked out.
The days before Father’s Day are usually just as rewarding. Our home becomes filled with secret whispers, sneaking around and a multitude of not so subtle hints. All the grandeur of this occasion is typically followed by a tremendous amount of boasting about how their clever plotting and planning left Dad totally clueless (wink, wink). For them, doing something special for Dad matters, a lot.
Whenever Father’s Day or Mother’s Day approaches, I can’t help but wonder how many children will lose the experience of making their Mom or Dad feel special simply because their parents don’t live under one roof anymore.
Professionals regularly remind us of the big boxes to tick, “Don’t fight in front of the kids,” “Don’t speak badly about your Ex” and “Always put your children first.” Yet, what about those smaller boxes such as special days and family events? What do you do about those?
It’s not hard to understand how those special days can be quite painful for us as parents. For some they serve as agonizing reminders of old hurts or stir up heartbreaking feelings of loss.
While it’s easy to get caught up in the “I don’t owe my ex anything” mentality, keep in mind you do owe your kids something, the opportunity to love and cherish both of their parents. Certainly it’s not to say that those feelings aren’t justified or that you’re not completely entitled to feel them. However, remember it isn’t about your ex, it’s about your children.
No matter how you slice it, whether it’s celebrating Mother’s Day, honoring Dad on Father’s Day or helping kids make a parent feel special on their birthday, separating your feelings about special days from the needs of your children is important. When you commit to staying focused on your children you have the opportunity to:
- Send a clear message that it’s okay to love both of parents
- Support the importance of family in your children’s lives
- Teach them the meaning of doing for others
- Help them embrace change while maintaining values
If you’re grappling with how to keep special days special for your kids, here’s some tips to help you get started. How do you support your children when it comes to celebrating special occasions with their other parent?
Until next time,
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