While co-parenting is often quite a challenge, the holiday season can make
the situation more complicated. Holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas,
and New Year’s Day are a time for joy and family togetherness. But
for many separated families, it can be a stressful and emotional period.
Fortunately, there are several things divorced parents can do to make
this time of year enjoyable for their children.
The following are several tips for healthy and productive co-parenting
during this time of year:
Put the children first – Rather than think about the bitterness and resentment you may
feel toward your ex-spouse, use your kids as a starting point to guide
mutual decisions on how to spend the holidays. Remember, divorce often
has a stronger emotional impact on the children, which can affect their
development. Before tending to your own needs, you must take care of their's
first and foremost.
Create a schedule ahead of time – To avoid miscommunication and fighting with your former spouse,
create a parenting plan which details how the holidays will be spent—if
you haven’t established one already. You and the other parent need
to discuss how your children will spend their time once school is out
and during each holiday. When you establish a plan early on, both parties
can review it before the holiday season starts to see if the schedule
Remain flexible – Although planning is crucial, leave room for any potential changes
during the holidays. Whether your boss gives you extra work or your child
falls ill, sometimes unexpected surprises happen. If the other parent
wants to make-up time with the children, being flexible can make co-parenting
easier and more beneficial in the long run for your kids.
Coordinate gift giving – Accidentally getting your kids the same gifts or situations where
one parent attempt to “out-do” the other with lavish presents
can be a cause for concern. Along with arranging a schedule, plan out
the number of gifts, money limits, and things that are off limits with
the other parent. Keep in mind that family members such as in-laws will
give gifts as well, so inform them of the guidelines you agreed to with
Tell your kids to have a great holiday – If you don’t have the kids for this year’s holiday
season, avoid telling them how much they will be missed. This can put
serious pressure on them and cause lasting damage. Instead, tell them
to have a great time with the other parent and that you will always love
them. In the meantime, you can work with your ex-spouse to create a holiday
schedule for next year.
For more information about divorce in Daytona Beach,
contact our skilled family law attorney at the
Law Offices of Robert Stepniak today.