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The Hood Magazine

Co-Parenting and Birthday Tips from Duncan Law

Sep 14, 2020 09:18AM ● By Duncan Law

By: Duncan Law

Birthdays are a time of celebration, but can be challenging when you are co-parenting. Thinking ahead and doing some strategic planning often helps parents get through the situation without taking away from the happiness of the day.

Determining when each parent is going to celebrate the child’s birthday can be incorporated into your parenting plan or agreement up front. This allows the parents to avoid confusion, frustration and potential problems or disagreements.

When trying to come up with a plan, it is beneficial to consider the following:

• Maintain the focus on your child. The day should be about your child. Don’t let any conflict between the parents put a damper on the birthday celebration. Be mindful that the day is about what the child wants and do not make it about what you, as the parent, want.

 • Be flexible and cooperative. Parents can work together to consider alternative solutions to how and when each parent celebrates the child’s birthday with him or her. Be flexible and consider having one parent celebrate on a different day or split the day in half and work together to make the day all about celebrating the child. Working together to come up with a way that you can all join in the celebration will benefit the child.

 • The day is about the child. Don’t make this a situation of one parent versus another. Show enthusiasm and happiness in front of your child about the birthday time he or she spends with the other parent. This will help the child avoid feeling like he or she is being pulled in two separate directions or having to pick and choose between parents.

 If parents are struggling to come up with a solution, the South Dakota Parenting Guidelines can help. The South Dakota Parenting Guidelines suggest that time spent with the child on their birthdate alternate annually between the parents or, if the parents can agree, the child’s birthday can be shared, with each parent spending a few hours with the child on his or her birthday. An alternating schedule allows each parent to celebrate with the child for a full day on his or her actual birthdate every other year.

 Sharing the day requires cooperation and a willingness to work together. No matter what plan you come up with, the central focus should be on creating a happy environment for the child on his or her special day.