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How to survive graduation events during divorce

June is time for graduation celebrations in Ohio, where families get together to honor their children's accomplishments and wish them well in the future. Even for families where parents are separated (or divorced), this should be a special time. However, some parents are intent on "stealing" the moment with audacious gifts or behaviors.

With this reality, many parents may wonder how they can navigate graduation events with a prickly ex. This post will offer some helpful tips.

Keep things child-focused - Remember, the event is for your child to celebrate his or her accomplishments, not an opportunity to showcase yourself. After all, your parenting is best exemplified in how your child has worked hard anyway, so there is no reason to make a spectacle of yourself. 

Keep it respectful - While your ex may say things to make your blood boil, it is critical to keep things respectful. No matter how great an event could be, it could all be for not with if you get sucked into an argument with the other parent. So no matter how frustrated you may get, the old adage "never let them see you sweat" applies.

Be careful about planning together - While it is noble to plan an event with your ex, be certain about what you feel comfortable doing with your ex. If you have to pay for a majority of the costs for a graduation party (for example) it should not be fodder for another fight.

Remember to have fun - Simply put, worrying about what your ex will do during the event takes too much emotional energy.

Source:, Graduation? Communion? Bar Mitzvah? Best tips for event planning for divorced parents, May 21, 2013

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