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Why Father's Day may need to be part of your parenting plan

Mother's Day and Father's Day can be a challenge for newly-divorced parents. Many couples don't bother to include them in their parenting plans along with Christmas, Thanksgiving and other major holidays. However, if there aren't stipulations in place for these days, parents can wind up battling over whether their children can spend the day with the parent who's being "celebrated" — particularly if the holiday falls during the other parent's designated time.

As a dad, what do you do with Father's Day coming up if you and your ex didn't include the day in your parenting plan? Of course, you want to spend the day (or entire weekend) with your children. If it doesn't coincide with your parenting time, you'll need to negotiate with your co-parent.

While it would certainly be nice if your co-parent agreed that the kids should be with you on Father's Day, she may have other plans. Maybe she wants the kids to be with her dad or brothers. Perhaps she is concerned that she'll have to help the kids shop for gifts if she lets them celebrate Father's Day with you. No matter how unreasonable you may think she's being, getting angry about it isn't going to help your case.

If you want to spend the day with your kids, be specific about your intentions when you speak to your ex. Lay out your plans for the day or the weekend. Maybe you'd like to spend the day sailing, go to a ball game or just have a barbeque. Perhaps you'd like to plan something with your own parents and siblings so that they can see their grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. Emphasize that you want the day to be fun for them — not a celebration of you.

If you were supportive of your kids spending time with their mom and helped them do something special for Mother's Day, you're ahead of the game. When one parent takes the initiative to be generous, the other parent is more likely to reciprocate.

If you and your co-parent can't reach an agreement to let your kids be with you on Father's Day, arrange to do something special with them on their next visit, whenever that is. If these holidays are becoming an issue for you and your co-parent, you may want to seek a modification to your parenting plan so that you can avoid future conflicts.

Source: Our Family Wizard, "Co-Parenting on Father's Day," accessed June 07, 2018

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