Top 5 Tips for Newly Divorced Parents During Graduation Season
Graduation season has arrived and the celebrations are in full swing! Your child’s cap and gown are neatly pressed and hanging in their closet as they eagerly await their “big day”. Sure, this may not be “THE Big Day,” but it is one of them.
While this is a joyous occasion, emotions may be running high for all people involved- the graduates and newly divorced parents included. This is a new chapter for everyone. Your child is moving onto bigger and better things. You and your ex are learning to coexist without confrontation so you can support your child. You need to remember your disagreements will eventually pass, but your child’s memory of this milestone will not.
It will be emotional, maybe even tense, but that’s why we want you to be better prepared. You need to focus on celebrating your child and not rehashing arguments with your ex. So here are our Top 5 Tips for Divorced Parents During Graduation Season.
Set aside differences. If you know your former spouse will be at the graduation ceremony, it may be best that you both speak beforehand to set guidelines. The road to making this successful may start weeks, maybe months in advance depending upon where you are in the divorce process and the relationship you have with your ex. In turn, this can cause the guidelines to change. For example, if you are in the process of the divorce, do not talk about the divorce or what is holding it up in court. If you are already divorced, but still dealing with the emotional aftermath, perhaps you both should agree not to bring up certain hot-button issues. You both may find that the best you can do is agree to be civil, and that’s okay! Just do whatever you need to do so your child has fond memories of this day. These emotionally charged topics can be brought up another time, not during this joyous occasion for your child.
Remind your child how much you love them and are proud of them. This day is meant to celebrate your child for all of their accomplishments throughout their school years. Remind them of that! Children are perceptive and know when things may be tense, your child included. Ease that tension by letting them know you’re okay, this day is about them, how proud you are, and how you will always love them. Let them know you are looking forward to the big day and are happy to spend it with family, ex included. This will ease their potential worries so they can focus on themself.
Accept the guest list. If your former spouse is in a new relationship and brings the new partner, you may feel uneasy about the whole arrangement. This is normal and you are in the right to feel those emotions. However, in most instances, you are not in the right to tell your ex that the new partner cannot come. If you know this will bother you, bring a trusted friend or family member to come along with you. Your “plus one” can help you feel more secure and ease the tension.
Celebrate in a public place. If there will be a celebration after the ceremony with the entire family, including your ex’s family, then have the event in a public place. For example, go to a restaurant or a public park for festivities. This will ease tensions since it is neutral territory and not at someone’s home where people may be uncomfortable. Now, the focus will remain on your child and their future.
Remember that you will only have one time to celebrate your child’s graduation. We may not know what school or level of education your child is graduating from, but we do know they will only experience this graduation once. This is not Groundhog Day where you can relive the same day and change the outcome. This is reality. Your child will carry this memory with them forever. Is arguing with your ex more important than your child graduating? Remember that this milestone was years in the making. You should be celebrating, too. You helped them on their journey!
If you find that you need help with the divorce process or a modification, then it is important to have a trusted advisor on your side to help you understand your parental rights. To schedule a complimentary consultation, click the link here.