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Missing Important Milestones in Your Child's Life

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 13 Nov 2019 | comments*Discuss
Separated Dads Milestones Children

Every life has its milestones. Not only the big ones like birth marriage and death, but many smaller ones, such as birthdays, moving school, Christmas, even sports days. Sadly, these are the ones you often miss after separation.

Until you’re on your own, you often don’t realise just how much you will miss. Indeed, if you and your partner break up before your child is born, you can miss out on the birth, which can be a huge loss. What can you do about missing milestones in the lives of your children, and how can you arrange things so you don’t miss them all?

Missing the Milestones

The nature of contact means that you’re bound to miss many of the milestones in the lives of your children. You may not be invited to birthday parties, and their Christmases will generally be spent with their mother and her family. In most cases, though, not being physically present doesn’t mean complete exclusion. You will have contact close to the time, and you can use that as a celebration. You can also Communicate With Your Children through phone calls and web cams, as well as sending birthday and Christmas cards and presents to be opened on the day. It’s not the same as being with them, but it does tell your children that you remember and that you care.

With Parental Responsibility, you can be legally involved in where your children go to school, so when they move up, you can have a say in things. Listen to what your kids want in this – after all, their involvement is direct. Then contact your ex and offer your recommendations. She is probably the one who’ll attend parents’ evenings at schools.

If relations with her are good, ask her what the teachers have been saying about your children. Ask the kids to bring their reports and sit down and talk to them about the comments.

Of course, in some instances, relations with your ex are so bad that there can be little civil contact between you. This presents problems, but on major issues you can invoke parental responsibility to make your views heard.

Being There on Special Days

At times, you might be able to negotiate things so your children spend a birthday or Christmas with you, or that you can attend a school event instead of your ex (it might even be possible for the two of you to go together). You might not consider it at the time, but if you’re negotiating directly with your ex for contact, try to have every other Christmas as part of the arrangement (or at the very least, Boxing Day). It allows you to celebrate at least some of the holidays with your children, and on a personal level, can greatly brighten what can be a very lonely season for you.

As far as possible, you should try to be involved in the milestones of your children’s lives. You may not be there the first time they successfully ride a bike, but you can perhaps arrange to attend a school sports day where they’re running.

It’s not easy, and inevitably you’ll miss more than you attend (indeed, where you have no chance to be involved, even though you want to be, you’ll miss them all, which can be heartbreaking). But make the most of the milestones for which you’re there.

Check out the Separated Dads Forum... It's a great resource where you can ask for advice on topics including Child Access, Maintenance, CAFCASS, Fathers Rights, Court, Behaviour or simply to have a chat with other dads.

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Hello I am separated from my ex for over a year now and we have a two year old son .shes been given me contact every Saturday until I got a new partner now she’s completely stopped me seeing my son and says her new partner is his daddy ! I don’t no what to do as I want to see my son but breaks me hearing him call the partner dad . She also said social services are involved should I be contacted if they was? I just need some advice on what to do
Tj - 24-Aug-18 @ 3:00 PM
(Rest of the story)..... All they were taljing about was cancer. The only cancer i have is my sign. I thought i was bloated for eating like a pig... Fathersday came up, i got no daddy to celebrate with soo i always celebrate with mom. Well that same day.. My mother bought a pregnancy test. She went into the bathroom with me and i peed. I was soo scared.. It would have been another std... Seconds later... Mom says "POSITIVE!!", "IM GOING TO BE MAMA IMA AND YOUR GOING TO BE A GREAT GRANDMA!!". As fornmyaelf i was confused. I wanted another test. IT had to be wrong. I was told otherwise and i had aches and pains there. It had to be another std. I wasnt sure if to be happy or sad because i could have been misled by a false pregnancy. I made an appointment with an OBGYN and i felt weird like something inside me was going to laugh at me for thinking i was pregnant. I peed once again. Lady came out saying its false.. I turn around and she said she was joking. Its positive. I was surprised that in fact i was actually pregnant. Surpirsed because i made a horrible choice to plan a pregnancy leading to an std. Surpirsed because the it took me a whole year and a half to get pregnant. Surprised because after my birth control.. Ive only had one period. One. So there was no way for me to know i was pregnant. I had the same bag of pad i got when i first started. Surprised because i didnt think it was possible and scared because.. I was scared of an ectopic pregnancy which i did have the symptoms.. And when i did finally get a check up from the doctor everything was fine. Only thing is.. I kept my std a secret.. I denied having one. But they caught something else.. An infection, GBS(Groupies B strep). I was 7.5 months along, when i fount out and 8 months when i got checked. We were notnonly expecting to have a baby girl, we were expecting her soon!! We had a name ready for her on the first day we found out. A girl name. No boy name and thankfully we were right about having a girl because we had no boy names. We named her after an indu godess. Her whole name was indu. She wore our last name first. She deserves it forever. To charish the name, her first present given to her. Always and forever. We kept calling her name to her in my tummy. We knew she loved it. That is her name. Our beautiful daughter. The day...the day i went to do my normal daily routine. Go shopping before my doctors appointment because i was past due, well i was feeling a bit wet but.. I thought it was normal. I wasnt expecting her, yet i didnt buy anything really. I only had 7baby clothes and many, many diapers of all sizes including wipes. Well i go to my doctors. He tells me that its only going to take 30 minutes so i lay peacefully with my baby in my belly.. Not even 10 minutes and people come rushing in examinging me asking me questions like "are you having or feeling any contractions?" i said "no" so they take me to another room and check my cervix. They say, im 5" dialated! it is soo
Gigi - 28-Mar-16 @ 5:43 PM
Hello everyone, I had a baby October 17th of '14 but thats not where it all started.. I have a long journey since a young girl playing dolls, id always wanted to have a baby, so id play with my family take care of the little ones.. In my teen years everyong was having a baby and my cheating ex had 2 on the way. I desperately wanted to have a baby also to chuck the guy. Well, thank god thats passed. Im glad i never got pregnant in my teen years. One, because my mom forced me on birth control, thank you mom! She caught me in time before i could get pregnant and ruin my own life. Right when i turn 18 is when my birth control expired and i was ready to plan on having babies as my friends were expecting too!! I went to the doctor got tested.. In 3 days, i was told i caught an std. Chlamidia, oh boy i got with another cheater.. All the guys i ever been with.. Amd worse an std. My doctor said id never have a baby and if i were to become pregnant id have an ectopic pregnancy. That was the last of my days and the end of all relationships and sex and im including protected sex. I moved back where i came from.. Back home kept my problem a secret and never told anyone nor a doctor, nor anyone. i was hopeless for children in my future. I actually had plans of surrogacy though i never talked about it, yet. I was only 18 with my first job and trying to handle and takein my mistake and new responsibility.Me. I was working on myself for the wrong i did just to get pregnant. Well, that same year.. After becoming clear of an std and never getting my life back again.. Never did i think i would.. But, I met a guy. A 23 year old old man or thats what he told me anyway....well thisbpart is sooo long... And i might as well cut it out but. He had no plans for a child. Though i told him i couldnt have any, i still wanted a child. Somehow. But we were not ready to talk about it and my plans were long destroyed. We had fun, we were careless but safe. We didnt have anything to worry about. I couldnt have babies anyway, or so i thought...Because,.. One day my mother asks me to move back in because, "he was feeding me too much". I told my mother no. I been eating off the same plate as he does and i dont eat the whole plate. After my mothers comment, i have since ate 1/4 of that plate. I was still getting fatter and fatter. I was wearing tight clothes. Even my man took notice when we went shopping for clothes because i couldnt fit in the ones i had anymore. He said i need to loose weight haha. Well i knew that too but my weight wasuncontrollable. Another visit to my mothers..i love her though sje called me umpalumpa for being fat. Cant be mad at fam forever. So my whole family was there.. Looking at my body. Looking at it soo hard. Trying to figure out what is wrong with me. They seen nothing wrong with me. All they were taljing about was cancer. The only cancer i have is my sign. I thought i was bloated for eating like a pig... Fathersday came up, i got no d
Gigi - 28-Mar-16 @ 5:35 PM
Will - Your Question:
My ex partner is moving away with our son with with her new partner, They are moving in together which I have made clear I don't agree with yet because of this, I am very worried about both their well-being. I don't know this guy and feel helpless towards my son because its an hour journey to get to him. Am I being silly in worrying. Its just I fear the worst happening to him and me not knowing about it until its to late. Any advice would be calming.

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear your worries, which are understandable. Firstly, I'm sure no harm is going to come to your son. Please see article:When Your Ex Gets a New Partner here . You don't say what the relationship is with your ex. However, if it is amicable, then you would hope she would choose a decent man as her new partner, who will treat your son with kindness. I know a lot of jealousy can stem from this, as much as if he was a monster. However, it is better that someone decent and loving is in your son's life. As hard as it is, rather than provoke animosity, perhaps you could try to develop a relationship based on good terms with this man. You may have to bite your tongue now and again, as this new relationship beds in. But this will benefit you in the long run by helping to allay your fears. It will also benefit the relationship with your ex, plus your son. Sometimes being the bigger person can be tricky, but it can also have its rewards too. By being there and amenable will foster trust which will hopefully be reciprocated all round. I hope this helps.
SeparatedDads - 26-Nov-15 @ 1:43 PM
My ex partner is moving away with our son with with her new partner, They are moving in together which I have made clear I don't agree with yet because of this, I am very worried about both their well-being. I don't know this guy and feel helpless towards my son because its an hour journey to get to him. Am I being silly in worrying. Its just I fear the worst happening to him and me not knowing about it until its to late. Any advice would be calming.
Will - 26-Nov-15 @ 8:42 AM
I total agree with Craig we dads should have more rights to our children
Hammerman - 9-Jul-15 @ 9:39 AM
Why should a father not be allowed to atte d sports day....and parents evening and birthdays why is there not any saying about this...woman complained for 50 years to get 50/50 rights and have got 80/20 rights over men.. Why are we been told to take missing out on our kids life is normal? Woman fought for the rights now men need to fight for their rights as Dads. I'm discussed by the acceptance for a man to not be part of his kids life
Craig - 21-Jun-15 @ 2:54 PM
My ex and I have separated for a while. The separation happened due to continuous arguing and I left as the cjhildren would hear and it was affecting them. I just want to see my children, i love them both so much. My son is 16 i text him all the time and he has said he doesnt want to see me and that he hates me.My daughter is 10, I message also, she is managing her mothers and brothers emotionally state and doesnt reply to. I asked her mother to ask to come out with me but she has said she wont come out. I know PAS (parental alienation syndrome) has a lot to do with it but i dont know what I can do.I want to see them and they dont want to see me. What makes it even worse is that 6 years ago I got there mother convicted for harassment and I have to go through the same process again as she has been coming to my property and been verbally abusive several times. I pay over 20% of my earnings which puts a massive financial strain on me.I do not want to see them go without. I just dont know what to do anymore.i really am at a loose end.
channa0511 - 20-May-15 @ 1:15 PM
@richie - you might be interested in our partner article Can I Stop My Ex Moving Our Children Abroad? SeparatedDads - 5-Jan-15 @ 12:23 PM
Hi, just after some advise. I am married to a German woman and we have 2 children, 15 months old. Things are getting very difficult between us and I'm thinking of divorce within the next year if things dont get any better(hopefully not though). The girls were born in germany due to better health care, and they are registered over there and have german passports. We have lived in the UK for the last year(and before we had the children). We got married around 5 months after the children were born. They then took my name(thye had her name until we got married). I'm petrified that if I leave her she'll instantly take them to Germany to live and I'll not see them. Can you give me a rough idea as to what I'm facing if I decide to leave her thank you, Richie....
richie - 29-Dec-14 @ 9:49 PM
@doormat, it sounds like your relationship with your partner is having a negative effect on your girls, in that they are speaking to you like he does because they see him doing it they think it's OK. Maybe it would be best for the girls if you and your partner separated as having to happy parents that are not together is better than having to unhappy parents together. It's not fair on you and it's not fair on them. Good luck!
kate - 16-Jul-14 @ 12:04 PM
Hi I am a woman with a partner of 21 years. 2girls one 2. One 5. My partner cheated on me with a work mate working late nights. We were working round our family. I had to work out what he was up to while holding down a full time job and Looking after our girls every night. Being up with them 6 to 7 times a night. Starting work at 6 in the morning. We have his mom living with us. She gave up her life to help us out. I found out. Could have gone home. I stayed here in the house so my kids would have a life with him and his mother (their grandmother) as the kids or his mother did nothing wrong I felt they would get punished. Yet all I have got is abuse. How he had an affair was my fault. How I can't understand it was an office affair. How it was a car-crash. How he was trapped. How he made a mistake and he had to carry it on for my sake. How he was trapped. How if I was more of an understanding girlfriend he could have told me the night it happened and that would have finished it.The list goes on. Well for all the dads out there. I have stayed for 11 months of torture for our kids. My 5 year old hears the way he speaks to me and does so herself. After reading the stories ye have I wish he actually knew how lucky he is. I am one to always believe 2 wrongs don't make a right but there is only so much one person can take. I am almost there. I know by reading this chat line how much it really hurts and I am trying to avoid it. But too many rows, unhappiness etc. can't be good either.
Doormat - 15-Jul-14 @ 11:52 PM
Hi. My wife and I have recently separated. We have a 2 year old daughter and she is expecting another baby. She left the marital home (which is in my name) to move in with her elderly parents (both in their 70's)- we have been married for 3 years - and is being awkward about giving me unsupervised access, saying she wants our child to have memories of both mum and dad with her. In reality, I believe it is her way of controlling the situation (she has OCD and is constantly wiping the child's hands and stopping her from playing in case she gets dirty). Should I go to a solicitor to get access agreed in black and white? This will antagonize her but I believe my daughter should be allowed to have play time without worrying about a bit of dirt.
Brian33 - 14-Jul-14 @ 12:08 PM
@none, this sounds very similar to my situation so I would be interested to know how you get on. I do believe that because you were living together as a couple she does legally have an interest in the house however it depends how long she was living there.
dannyboy - 11-Jun-14 @ 11:54 AM
My ex was living with me we had a house but it was all in my name we have 2 children unknown to me she was claiming that she was living there alone and claiming single persons tax credit for the children and what ever else she was claiming not known to me. since we have split she has put a block on the premises with the land registry saying she has a interest in the property as we was living as a couple but she was claiming benefits unknown to me as a single parent. where do I stand ?
none - 11-Jun-14 @ 9:43 AM
i was a dotting dad loved my family life , my partner drunk a lot there was arguements all started by her may i say . we have split up a number of years now in the beginning i could see my kids but slowly she was stopping me making excuses , then she was making false accusations it got to the stage that i had to video everything .even tho i done this she was making accusations and the police was sent to my house ,, even tho i showed the police the video of my attempting to see my kids and her clearly making false allegations i was told by the police to stay away .i was even on holiday in tunisia when one of the allegations was made and had to call down the police station when i returned .when on arrival they tried to issue me with a harrasment awareness form to sign. i tottaly refused but was still told to stay away , i have been to mediation at a price in the beginning had days that she changed and stopped had a 1500 pound solicitors bill and still have no contact with my children ,i am writting this to the thousands of good dads who love their kids that you are not alone and that the police and courts are tottaly wrong ..keep the faith and just hope that your kids will come and look for you in the future . a bemused and heartbrocken dad
none - 11-Jun-14 @ 9:33 AM
With all these family courts why are men painted in such a bad light , my ex a so called social worker thwarts my attemps to have regular contact saying i must be supervised it makes me look and sound like a monster, to be honest i am sick of the whole thing all because i was taken ill from my home on saturday and spent 2 nights in hospital, i hope that she never gets ill the law is so biased dont they realiase that it takes a man & a woman to raise a child. Its like i have had the last 5 years of my life stolen from me living 200 miles away from my family and friends struggling for the last 2 years to get get work in south wales i gave up way too much for my ex NEVER AGAIN i feel conned,nice people never get anywhere when it come to situations like this.
capri68 - 18-Sep-13 @ 9:09 AM
I saw my daughters I have four every week for three days a week so my life was my kids and my work and I was so happy last year my ex took the kids to live in London and I have managed to see them on school holidays but the pain of not being a big part in their lives hurts so much, and feeling like this all the time is terrible its getting harder to say goodbye to them when they have to go back home I am just devastated and in limbo I was a part of their life and now I feel I am not she has robbed me of them and it is so hard I don't know how to carry on as the pain is so bad.
groovy - 3-May-13 @ 2:23 AM
I know all to well the pain of knowing your daughter misses you and crys for you. just earlyer today my mother sayed your ex called and was crying and saying wheres my daddy? she is 3 years old and we always had that deep deep bond. I often hope that god will keep my spirits up and keep me moving forward with her in my heart.
chaz - 5-Feb-13 @ 10:06 PM
Missing birthdays and Christmas with your children can be heartbreaking and incredibly depressing. There’s simply no way around that. Ideally, you and your ex will be able to split these events so that you get your share of them. However, your situation might not allow that and then there’s no choice but learning how to cope, sad as it is.
David - 4-Oct-12 @ 10:10 AM
hi, I know what you are going threw and their is nothing on here or what people can tell you that will make you feel better, my ex did the dirty on me so I gave her all we had so the little one would not suffer in anyway finically against the lawyers advice.i see my little one every 2nd weekend I know she enjoys the time she's turning 3 soon. I still don't know if its worth being their as pain of not having her around hurts more when you see her. giving something you love away is the hardest thing, knowing you have to be nice to the thing you are giving it to is just as worst. they say time heals everything but in some of us time won't heal it, its nearly two years for me now and I still have to listen to people and family tell how lucky I'm to spend time with my daughter, I don't see the luck I have looked and read on these forums to try and find something positive to think of but theres nothing as one guy said I had a child to spend everyday of my life with not every second weekend. you just have to make the little time you get with your daughter the most fun that she will never forget don't make your problems hers no matter how bad you feel, my little one calls me my ex new partners name it hurts but it not her fault, remember your daughter will always want you in her life she doesn't want to grow up knowing you decide that just a couple minutes of her time were not enough to keep you here. trust me the pain doesn't end but you control the outcome,
only single dads kno - 25-Jun-12 @ 1:01 PM
Iam scared and panicking so much that I wish I were dead, sitting here alone as always. I dont have a friend in the world, believe me not one. I have a week off work and my girlfriend has taken my 3 yr old daughter away for a week abroad, also for two months now she has said she will move out in september when her sisters house becomes available! thus after much begging and panicking,waking day after day wishing she would change her mind and stay iam faced with the dreadfull reality that iam slowly and painfully losing my daughter and thus my my life is collapsing, my parents side with her and tell me to make the most of it! iam thinking non stop of the birthdays iam going to miss, easter, xmas, bonfire night, her first day at school, reading her a story bedtime or during the day, fun bath times, going to the swings together, I dont want miss a second of her life, but in spite of all my pleading with my girlfriend she is taking my daughter away and now I have no life.nothing
firewall - 28-Apr-12 @ 6:15 PM
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