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Graduations can be challenging for divorced parents

One of the most difficult occasions for many divorced couples is a child's graduation from high school or college. It's a proud day for all parents, and one they may feel they played a big role in -- particularly if they foot the bill for an expensive college. However, for Florida parents who still don't get along, it also entails being around each other -- something they may have worked to avoid for many years.

It's important to remember that this is your child's day, and it should be about him or her. You and your ex, as well as your families, need to put your issues aside for that day. Earlier this month, estranged spouses Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver showed that kind of civility as they were photographed together with their son Patrick, who graduated from the University of Southern California.

The occasion can be even more challenging if one or both parents wants to bring along a new significant other or spouse, or if there are stepchildren in the picture. Ex-in-laws can also be a problem. The best thing to do is to communicate with your ex-spouse about who will be attending and what the seating arrangements will be. You may need to lay down some ground rules with other family members regarding what you expect from them. Also communicate with your child. Kids should have a say in who attends their graduation.

If the two sides of the family simply can't sit together, you may want to sit separately. Separate graduation parties may also be in order. However, if you can find a way to get along without all of these additional accommodations, it's best for your child. Kids like to know that their parents can put aside their differences to celebrate their accomplishments.

Source: Union City Patch, "Your Divorce Is Not Part Of Your Teen's Graduation," Michael Rubino, Ph.D., MFT, May 16, 2016

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