Dear Barb – Grad Parenting

Dear Barb:

I can’t believe it, but I will finally be graduating this year. It’s been a long journey for me as I’ve had some health issues, but I feel I’ve been fortunate to have the love and support of my family. My parents are divorced and both have remarried. My parents and stepparents have played a significant role in my life, but for most of my life I have lived with my mom and stepdad. Unfortunately for my graduation ceremony I only received two tickets. My mom thinks I should invite her and my stepdad, but my dad thinks I should invite him as well. I think it would be easier just to invite my parents and leave out the stepparents. Not that I want to do that, but since I have to choose it seems logical to invite them. What do you think? Thanks Rebecca.

Congrats on graduating Rebecca:

I think you should do what feels right for you. If there is no way that you can get another ticket or two, then I agree with you, it seems logical to invite your parents rather than your stepparents. On the other hand if you did not have a good relationship with either parent then it may be more logical to invite one of your stepparents who may have played a significant role in your life. Check out Liam’s question below.

Dear Barb:

I am graduating from college and I don’t want to go to my graduation ceremony. My parents are divorced and they have been fighting for the last ten years. Every family event since they have separated has ended with them arguing. I just don’t want to have that as a memory for my graduation. My mom is freaking out because she says I am robbing her of seeing her son graduate. My dad says to do what I want. I don’t think I can invite just my mom, because I know my dad will be hurt, so it just seems easier to skip the whole thing. My dad said he will take me out for dinner and we can celebrate, what do you think? Thanks Liam

Hi Liam:

This is a very unfortunate situation which is completely your parent’s doing. It is unfair that you do not feel you can attend your own graduation. You need to sit your parents down and tell them what they are doing to you. If they care at all about you they should be able to put their anger and vindictiveness aside for one day for the sake of their son. If your parents cannot assure you that they will are capable of being civil to each other for the ceremony, then I would suggest you choose another family member who has been instrumental in your life, perhaps grandparents, and invite them instead. Good luck and congratulations, Liam.

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