Mother's Day seems easy, celebrating what our moms do for us. But it's not easy for every child. My children, for instance, are adopted. They don't remember their birthmother, but they do miss their foster mother from time to time. They have several friends for whom Mother's Day is sometimes challenging as well. Some have two mothers, one has two fathers, and a few have parents who divorced and remarried. Creative, loving intervention can help everyone enjoy the day. Here are some suggestions to handle Mother's Day challenges.
1. Talk to the teacher. Ask your child's teacher whether the class will observe the holiday. If yes, gently remind the teacher that your child has lost or doesn't live with his/her mother, or has multiple mother figures (or whatever your situation may be). Brainstorm some inclusive alternatives to help the teacher with plans.
2. Set expectations. Following #1, if your child's class is doing a special project or event, prepare your child by setting expectations about who will receive the project or attend the event.
3. Honor choices. If your child does not live with a mother figure, or has a troubled relationship with his/her mother, discuss honoring a friend, relative, or babysitter. If your child resists, let it go this year or honor someone yourself in your own way if you wish -- both for your own benefit and so your child can see that Mother's Day is what you choose to make of it.
4. Allow for processing. If your child's behavior changes for the worse around Mother's Day, he or she may be grieving. Let it happen. It might be helpful for a younger child to draw pictures to help process the feelings, while an older child might prefer to write a letter or journal entry.
5. Create your own celebration. As alternatives to the typical card and brunch, your family might like to light candles to remember absent mothers or plant flowers to honor multiple mothers. Whatever your child feels like doing, be present and let your child do most of the talking. You might end up doing more celebrating than you expect!
I hope these tips are helpful. If you have other strategies to share, feel free to do so in the comments below!
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