Regardless of your culture or beliefs, milestones in the lives of your children, while sometimes stressful, are usually a source of great pride and joy. A Bar Mitzvah, a sweet sixteen party, a college graduation, a first communion, the birth of a grandchild or even a wedding, is a major event to be celebrated and enjoyed together as a family.
However, for divorced couples and their children, these life cycle events can be a source of incredible frustration and sometimes even bitter arguments if they aren’t handled properly. So what can be done to keep the event itself and the child for whom it is planned at the forefront, where they belong?
Hiring an event planner is one option that can help divorced parents work towards a common goal, allowing them to put aside their personal grievances and focus on their child’s happiness. In cases where the parents struggle to be cordial to each other while making decisions, the event planner will meet with each parent individually and allow them to discuss their plans and desires without having to confront each other.
Event planners are experienced at dealing with planning major life events involving broken families. However, an event planner is only one slice of the pie, as it were. There are several other options for divorced parents as well. This is a list of tips and pointers for divorced parents to keep in mind while planning special life cycle events for their children:
Prioritize Your Goals
What are the most important things that you feel need to be included in the event? A particular speech, a photo-montage, a certain color combination or type of decor – whatever it is, if each parent is willing to focus on what they feel is most important, the needs and desires of both parents can be honored in the final outcome without any major compromises.
Guest List Concerns
In the planning of any event there are going to be people who are invited by one parent and unwanted by the other. Try to focus on being respectful of your ex’s wishes when going over the guest list. Unless there is a truly justifiable reason to refuse someone an invitation, like a history of drunken and out-of-control behavior, it is best to just leave it be.
Dealing with in-laws and relatives can be a challenge regardless of your marital status. However during a divorce, it can be even more difficult. People tend to take sides and are often not diplomatic in dealing with the many pitfalls of divorce. So be sure to vent any frustrations to a friend or trusted family member before, not during, the event. And if you think there may be conflict, be sure to tell the event planner so that they are able to assign seating with that in mind, keeping certain people or groups apart.
Choosing The Date
If you have been divorced for a while, and your family has met your new partner or love interest (and is comfortable with them) then it should be fine to invite them. However, if the divorce is still underway, this is not the time to introduce everyone to your newest romantic partner, or show off how well you are doing apart from your ex. This would only cause tension and resentment, which isn’t fair to the child being celebrated, or to your new partner.
Remember, this event is for and about your child, not you! You would be doing your child a great disservice by ruining a special event with fighting, rudeness, or barely contained frustrations. Whether it’s their birthday, their graduation or their wedding, it is a special time meant for celebrating a milestone in their life and should be treated as such. So relax and enjoy yourself. In the end, you’ll be glad you did!