Shared Birthday Dilemma

Parenting expert Jan Faull, MEd, offers advice to one mom on helping her kids celebrate their shared birthdays.
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Double Duty

Q. "Here is my small but big problem. My daughter was born on September 8, 2000; then, two years later on September 8, 2002, my son was born. So now I have to make a party for both a boy and a girl. It's not that much of a problem now while they are both still young; but what can I do to make them both feel special as they get older?"

A. There's lots you can do for your children so they'll each feel special on the birthday they share. The most important factor will be your attitude, approach, and interest in having each child participate in creating a day that is special to each of them. As your daughter's third birthday approaches, ask her how she would like to celebrate the occasion, explaining that you want to make the day special for her as well as for her brother. Allow her to decide whether she wants a party for herself, or if she wants to celebrate the day jointly. Depending on the response she gives, you can then proceed with your party plans. As you approach her fourth birthday, give her the same options again.

A Group Effort

In the year your son turns three and your daughter turns five, all three of you should brainstorm about what to do. As each child offers up ideas, you should write them down. Once all the ideas are on paper, discuss them, weighing the pros and cons. If an idea won't work for everyone, eliminate it. Keep discussing all ideas until all three of you come up with a solution that is satisfactory to everyone, including you, Mom. Remember, parents have veto power -- If the children's ideas get too grandiose, you can reject them or at least scale them down a bit. Remember, the point of having a party is to honor the day of each child's birth. This doesn't necessarily require an elaborate celebration. Often the simplest and least expensive parties are the most special and memorable. Many parents would feel compelled to throw elaborate celebrations for each child, but this can get expensive and is often unnecessary -- some kids get stressed out by big, elaborate parties. Finally, if your kids are dead set against a joint celebration, consider taking a weekend before and a weekend after the actual birth date to have small, individual celebrations using whatever ideas you have agreed to as the theme.

Continued on page 2:  Create a Birthday Ritual


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