As a parent, I love spending time with my children on special occasions, such as Mothers’/Fathers’ Day, at Christmas and on birthdays. Not being with them on the handful of days during the year that Hallmark heavily promote would make the occasion in question feel very empty and hollow indeed.
It isn’t straightforward for everyone, however. Whether there’s a custody arrangement in place or not, communication between a child’s parents can break down and special days such as these can become real bones of contention.
For example, one parent may have custody of the children at weekends. As Mothers’ Day/Fathers’ Day always fall on a Sunday, at some point, your child may want to see their mother/father on their respective special occasion, even though it’s not ‘their day’ to see them.
It’s easy for anyone outside the family to say be flexible when it comes to special occasions. It’s easy for us, at Rucklidge Family Law, to advise putting your child’s needs first and to keep communication open and amicable between you and your ex. It’s easy for us to assert that it’s not about the other parent getting more time with the child(ren) than the courts say they should, or that they’re ‘winning’ in any way.
Special occasions, such as Mothers’/Fathers’ Day, Christmastime and birthdays, in the twenty-first century, may be more cynical and commercialised than they used to be (that’s another matter), but at their core, these days are simply opportunities/reminders to show that you love someone – and they can mean a lot to parents and their children.
If such occasions are used to score points against your ex, you won’t just be hurting them, you’ll also be hurting your child. Think of your son/daughter and put them first, whatever your feelings and emotions towards your ex-partner.
Your child may have created something at school and looked forward all week to presenting it to Mum/Dad. All their friends will be marking the day in some way, and kids pick up very easily if they’re missing out or doing something different to their peers.
Despite what I’ve said above, there will still be parents who long to see their children on special occasions but are prevented from doing so by their ex. If this is the case, come and have a chat with one of us at Rucklidge Family Law. Even if there’s a firm care arrangement in place, we may still be able to help you see your children on special occasions, even if it’s not your turn to have them.