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How to handle the child’s activities and big happenings

Children’s activities are an important part and often highlights in both children’s and parents’ lives. If the child is experiencing tension between you parents, it is a good idea to find ways to alternate organizing or participating in their activities. This way both parents can be involved without conflicts and stress that can hurt the child (and parents) in the long run.

The child’s activities are the child’s highlights

Celebrating Lucia, camp school, dance performances and basketball games are important for children. These are highlights in a child’s life where family and relatives can be present to create memories. To ensure that these highlights are just that, we parents sometimes need to step back with our own desires and needs. There is no room for surprises, conflicts or anything else that might prevent a relaxed and pleasant atmosphere at your child’s activities.

Think and plan ahead

If things are tense between you, it’s better to take turns attending than to both come. Parents who choose to sit in separate parts of the auditorium with stiff faces at the graduation ceremony force the child to choose which parent to run to first. Such a choice can hurt the child’s pride in their graduation. It gives the child bad memories where the parents’ conflicts are in focus and not the beautiful performances in the school play.

Parent-teacher meetings also require you to adapt for the sake of the child. The rule of thumb is that you should be able to interact with each other in a relaxed and neutral manner with the focus on the child if you are to come together effectively. Of course, it’s no problem if you are relaxed about seeing each other. It is valuable for both the child and you as parents if you can share the love and pride as a parenting team.

If you work on it, things will get better

Relationships are alive and dynamic. That means it’s something you do – not something you have. If you aren’t there today, you must work to reach the goal. Nothing is set in stone, it becomes whatever we make it to be. Each of us, and together.

  • Taking turns doesn’t have to mean alternate graduation ceremonies. One can be present at the ceremony itself and the other can have ice cream with the child afterwards.
  • Even during holidays like Christmas, Hanukkah, Passover, Eid and Midsummer, the every-other-year rule doesn’t have to apply. Look at the holidays from the perspective of the child. Maybe the one celebrating with the child’s cousins and with the jolly Santa could have Christmas every year, while the other one creates the best New Year’s traditions?
  • Remember that children can worry about the parent who is not participating. Reach out and ensure your children that your celebration is a good one too!
  • Many children who live in two homes think that the double birthday celebrations and holidays are the best part of their family life.
  • There is a special punishment reserved for the parent who turns up to the preschool’s “parent-fika” with a new romantic partner as “a surprise”.

Malin Bergström
Child psychologist