Co-Parenting this Father

Co-Parenting this Father's Day

01 Jun 2018
Father’s Day this year is fast approaching. We know any ‘special’ or ‘family’ days can feel hard when you’re in the process of separating or divorcing. We have come up with a few tips to help parents and children have a smoother day. 
  1. Be Supportive- Research suggests that children who have a relationship with both of their parents generally ‘do better’ in life. Encouraging and supporting your children to have a positive relationship with both their Dad and their Mum is important. When it comes to Father’s Day, let the children know it’s good to be excited about spending time with their Dad.
  2. Use a Parenting Plan. Parenting plans detail how parents intend to co-parent children after separation. A parenting plan can include arrangements for ‘special’ days such as Father’s/Mother’s Day, birthdays and Christmas. Stress levels can be reduced when everyone knows what’s happening ahead of time and what’s expected.
  3. Be Flexible – Sometimes easier said than done, particularly when it feels that flexibility and cooperation may not be reciprocated, but children pick up on conflict between their parents. You may need to swap a weekend, a day or a few hours. Try to be creative and not disrupt the on-going arrangements as this can cause bad feeling become a barrier to your co-parent being flexible with you when you need them to be.
  4. Plan ahead - Children love to give their parents a gift that makes them smile. Father’s Day is no different, but the children might need your help to buy or make the gift for their Dad. This can be hard when you are not part of a couple anymore, particularly if you didn’t receive a gift for Mother’s Day yourself. The children may not want to ask you for help in case you get upset. Some schools help the kids make gifts to give to parents, but in case they don’t, ask the children if they want to give or make a gift for their Dad for Father’s Day.  
  5. Let the children be guilt free. Let the children know they are totally free to enjoy the time they spend with their Dad and they don’t need to worry about you feeling sad at home (even though this may be hard for you).
  6. Father’s Day can be celebrated any time. Sometimes it might not be possible to spend time with the children on the day itself. If you can’t, whatever the reason may be, try to focus on celebrating your relationship with the children. This can be done any day you choose, the children won’t mind. If things don’t work out for this year, think about what co-parenting changes could be implemented for next year so things run more smoothly.
  7. Make the time special. If the children aren’t able to spend the day with their Dad on Father’s day itself, consider what can they do instead to let Dad know they are thinking of him. Can they Facetime, call, Skype, email or text, or can they send a gift and card? Can you help them with this?
  8. Be the co-parent not ‘the ex’. Supporting and nourishing the children’s relationship with their Dad when you are no longer together can be hard, especially if one or other of you is still hurting, but it is also one of the most selfless and loving acts of being a co-parent. Your children will benefit from your decision to co-parent in the future.
If you want to talk more about co-parenting, to make arrangements that work for you both, please get in touch with Kate and Dianne on 01937 547020 to help with a Parenting Plan or Mediation.   

Image courtesy of Arleen Wiese on Unsplash