This week we are talking about birthdays and in particular
Your ex’s birthday
Yes I know you are no longer in a relationship and I am not suggesting you continue to celebrate each others birthdays; this is about how your children celebrate and perceive their parent’s birthdays (i.e. your ex's birthday). Dad - it may be mum’s birthday coming up – can they talk to you about that and vice versa? Can they share that joy and excitement that naturally comes along with birthdays?
When the birthdays are looming ahead, children get excited and they know the family rituals – albeit birthday cards, cake, presents – there is that natural excitement and joy that comes with it and children love to get wound up in that excitement. Maybe you can start talking with your children – what are you going to do for mum’s birthday, for dad’s birthday? Maybe you can suggest that they make them a birthday card or present, draw them a picture. They may be of an age where they have money and can go out and buy a gift or maybe you can give them a little bit of money and tell them that they can use that to buy the other parent a gift and then take them shopping and help them choose a gift. It doesn’t have to be expensive but here it is the thought that really matters; more so it is showing your children that you are okay and in fact that you like seeing them get excited and happy about celebrating the other parents birthday and that is good with you. They don’t have to pretend that they don’t care about that.
In the lead up to your ex's birthday, you may want to talk to the other parent about that especially if the children are supposed to be with you that day. Maybe you can suggest that they spend a few hours with them on their birthday. If birthdays are really important to them then this will be a wonderful gesture, if they aren’t they may not worry about it but nonetheless the offer can go along way. If on the day of the birthday the children are with you, get them to make a telephone call and say happy birthday or record a video and send it over. It is the little things that take little time and effort on our behalf that can make the world of difference to the children – the can feel comfortable knowing that they can love each of you!