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My daughter celebrated her 12th birthday on the weekend.
She opted for a low key celebration – invited some of her girl friends from school and watched a movie, danced to their own kind of music, and believe or not, sang to some karaoke! Her little sister, Miss 9, got to invite one friend as well, so that kept everyone happy… except for our poor little reagle (Rottweiler x Beagle), Evie, who was forced to spend the afternoon in the yard. She was however given a very LARGE dog bone to relish!
So anyway, I recently started a Facebook Group – This Blended Home of Mine and I asked some of the parents in the group how they managed birthday celebrations and special occasions. It was really encouraging to learn that many of them have managed to keep good (or at the very least, civil!) relationships with the exes for the sake of their children – Grown ups acting like grown ups and coming together at birthday parties. That is so nice ♥
My children’s dad moved to Canada a couple of months ago. I mentioned in another post, that after we separated, he was quite abusive in a psychological and verbal nature. So it’s safe to say that this was also the first birthday / occasion that we didn’t feel guilty, worried, scared and all the other emotions of a similar nature.
I had always hoped that her father and I could have had a more amicable relationship. God knows, I tried. I tried so many different ways of engaging with him… but it never worked.
So what do you tell your children when you cannot invite Mum or Dad to their birthday celebration?
1. Keep it real. Tell your child that Mum or Dad cannot be invited at this time because they are still learning to cope with the situation. Grown ups need some time to learn too.
Grown ups need some time to learn too.
2. Don’t ask them to keep secrets. If they want to tell your ex that they are having a party, let them. It is not healthy for children to keep your secrets for you. It’s a happy celebration, so they should be able to be excited about it. Over the last few birthdays and occasions (school events) – my children always made it a point to invite their Dad. My partner and I never asked them to keep them secret – why should they? He always said no though… but that was his choice.
3. Listen. Your child will have some questions, doubts, worries, and fears. Allow them to tell you, and make sure you listen and validate them. Let them know that you understand what they are feeling and why they are feeling it. Explain to them that it’s okay.
“Let them know that you understand what they are feeling and why they are feeling it”
So, when you can, put all the guilt aside – think about what it does to your child… and to yourself!
Looking for Birthday Gift Inspirations?
Birthday Reminder Coloring 2017 Wall Calendar Kit – $4.99
Happy Birthday Plush Pusheen – $24.99