According to Hallmark’s Birthday Trends and Statistics web page, most of us are born in August with the second most popular month for birthdays being July; so chances are over these upcoming summer months you are going to find yourself either hosting or going to a birthday party for, or with, your son or daughter. When you are with your child, you may be parenting alone. But even with varied access or custody rights on the part of the other parent of your child or their extended family – when birthday time for that child nears – a lot of people want to help share in that celebration. There is only one real birth day, so how do you best go about navigating those 24 hours and ensuring that your child has a good time?
Certain summer activities can seem a little daunting when planning to execute them as a single-parent. Who’ll keep an eye on the kids on the slide while you’re cooking hot dogs on the outside barbeque at the park? What will you do if one child desperately needs to use the washroom and the other is in a line-up for the water slide at the pool?
Last summer, while waiting to pass through the Customs check-in at the Calgary Airport, I noticed a preschool-aged child in front of me becoming increasingly, and understandably, frustrated at having to stand still in line. The child’s expressions of frustration through voice and action escalated to a point where the parent, who had been very accommodating and understanding up to that point with the child, decided the behavior had become unacceptable. “Das ist eins …” the traveling mother’s voice rang out.
No one plans to get divorced. It is hard on everyone involved; creating upset and stress for the couple, their family, and sometimes even the family dog. Minimizing the effect on the kids, however, should be a priority for both parents, their extended family, and their friends.
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