Effective Co-Parenting Tips as the Holidays Approach
With Thanksgiving near and Christmas not far behind, the challenges of navigating the holidays will soon be upon us. And for divorced parents and their children, the holidays often add an extra layer of stress, conflict, misunderstanding and disappointment.
But with some thinking ahead and a unified commitment to effective co-parenting for the sake of the children, this script can be rewritten. Following are some ways to ease holiday stress for the kids, and for you and your ex too.
- Stay true to one thought: It’s about the children, not you. Put power struggles aside so that the children can enjoy the simple pleasures of the holidays. Be kind and generous as an example to your children.
- Celebrate new traditions and don’t dwell on the past. Choose a special, new activity that you and your kids can look forward every year, such as going to a holiday concert or shopping for grandparents. Allow your kids to speak freely about the things they used to do when the family was together without making negative comments. Be supportive of their memories.
- Plan ahead and avoid last-minute changes. Giving one another plenty of notice means fewer conflicts and problems.
- Be creative. Thanksgiving doesn’t have to always be just one day for one parent and the kids. For example, Thanksgiving Day and Friday can be celebrated with one parent with the other parent having the children for the weekend, regardless of the regular schedule. Christmas can be similarly divided, with Christmas Eve going to one parent and Christmas Day to another.
- Holiday schedules should not be black and white. If you don’t have the children for Thanksgiving this year, agree to have them next year.
- There’s no excuse for not communicating during the holidays. Phone, email or text your ex about plans and avoid social media such as Facebook. Your family details are private.
- Involve extended family and friends, especially those important to your children from all sides of the family.
Holly Martin is the Founding Principal at Martin Attorneys, PA. Holly is passionate about helping her clients move in positive directions in their lives. To set up free initial consultation with one of her hand-picked team of attorneys, please call 479-872-5500.