Parenting arrangements for Mother’s Day or other special occasions
By Brynne Allen
6 May 2022
Mother’s Day this year may fall on your scheduled weekend with the children, or the scheduled weekend that the children spend with their other parent. There may also be a long standing Mother’s Day tradition like spending time with a maternal or paternal grandparent with extended family that the children may wish to participate.
Blended families are now far more common and some children have more than one influential female in their lives. There is only so much time in the day to celebrate Mother’s Day and it can be tricky to achieve a happy medium to ensure all influential women to your children are celebrated.
It can be a challenge to negotiate an outcome with your former partner that you may be happy with but we encourage all parents at this time of year to remain child focused and consider what is in the best interests of your children as they seek to spend time with their Mother or other women in their lives.
We acknowledge that it may also not be appropriate for children to spend time with a particular parent, for instance, where the children are at risk of harm or being exposed to any family violence. If you hold concerns for this weekend, please contact us immediately to seek further family law advice.
We otherwise provide parents with the following five strategies to make the experience of Mother’s Day or any special occasion an enjoyable day for your children:
- Consider the timing of changeover – Rather than implementing changeover on the day of the special event, consider changeover taking place the night before the special occasion. The children may prefer or obtain more enjoyment in waking up with their mother on Mother’s Day as opposed to being exposed to any animosity between parents or being required to travel on the day of the event.
- Adopt a professional relationship approach to the arrangements for the weekend – it can be difficult to co-parent or even parallel parent with your former partner. Many children may have a level of insight and appreciation that the special occasion may cause tension between or is a source of anxiety for their parents. Remain child and future focused on the type of relationship you would like to have with your child’s parent (after all you want to be able to attend the same significant birthday, graduation ceremony or wedding one day without animosity for your child) and attempt to engage in some professional communication strategies you may employ in the workplace. If you are struggling to remain neutral in your communication with the other parent, consider enrolling in a Parenting Post Separation course to learn some new strategies that may assist.
- Take the children shopping for a gift for the other parent – Whether you assist the children in selecting a present, provide funds for the present or simply facilitate the children being able to obtain a present by taking them to the shops, this action may have the effect of alleviating some anxiety they may have about the special day itself. It can also demonstrate to the children that you are able to acknowledge the importance of the other parent in their life, and exhibit a caring and cooperative attitude to the other parent.
- Talk positively about the other parent in the lead up to the special occasion – in particular do not disparage or denigrate the other parent within the presence or earshot of the children. Further, encourage any other family members to whom the children spend time with to refrain from making any negative comments about the other parent while they are spending time with you.
- If distance is going to prevent spending time in person, consider facilitating a Facetime or other video meeting – focus on the quality of time that the children get to spend with both parents as opposed to the quantity of time.
If you require assistance in negotiating parenting arrangements, would like some further advice in relation to your parenting matters or understanding your Parenting Orders, please do not hesitate to contact the Tisher Liner FC Law Family Law Team.
We otherwise wish all mothers and influential women to children a very happy Mother’s Day this weekend.
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