If you don’t have children, you can divorce and never see one another again. However, if you have children, you have to accept that they will link you forever, even if that is only very occasionally when they are adults. When your children are younger, there will be events, such as parents evenings, sports days and award presentations that they will want you both to attend. However, should you be attending the kids’ events together?
Should be attend together?
If you can go together and be civil, polite, even nice to one another, yes, you absolutely should be attending the kids’ events together. Your children will see that just because you no longer want to be in a relationship, you can do this for them and also can show respect to each other. If you think that being in your ex’s company will create arguments, sniping or any other issues, then attend but separately. You don’t want to create an atmosphere for the children, especially not at an event that is important to them, in public and probably in front of their friends.
What events am I talking about?
Parents’ evenings are important to attend. The teaching staff rarely have enough time to see divorced or separated parents separately. They have around 3 minutes per child that they teach. Attending together informs both of you about your children’s progress. It also provides a united front that your children can see and that you value education. There is also no risk of Chinese whispers about what was said.
Other school events, such as sports days and awards presentations will be important to your children. They are an opportunity to support their efforts. It is not uncommon for these to be held during the working day, making it difficult to attend. Where possible, go together. If not, make sure if you cannot make it, that your ex can go along to support them.
Extra curricular activities often create opportunities for parents, such as a dance show, choir recital, cup match or grading. If there are several performances, you could go separately to ensure your child has someone at each one. For the one offs, try to be there together.
Tips for attending the kids’ events together
- Remember why you’re doing it, for the children.
- Smile. It may sound odd but smiling even when you don’t feel like it will make you feel happier and will reflect onto those around.
- Think before you react. If you are tempted to respond with a snipe or sarcastic comment, take a deep breath and say something positive.
- Children’s events are generally a maximum of a couple of hours, you can keep it all together for that length of time, even if you scream when you get home!
- Don’t worry about what others think. It doesn’t matter if other people think it’s strange or don’t understand why you’re doing it, you know why.
- Be positive. This is a great thing that you’re doing. Give yourself a pat on the back.
- Things won’t always go as planned but stick with it.
If you enjoyed this article, read more about coparenting in What About the Children?
Tamsin Caine is a Chartered Financial Planner at Smart Divorce. She specialises in working with separating or divorcing clients to help them to understand how to divide their finances to move forward with their lives. If you would like to speak to Tamsin or find out more about how she can help, email her at Tamsin@smartdivorce.co.uk or call her on 07975 922766.