Handling Co-Parenting During the Holidays Effectively
Parenting together is a challenge throughout the year, but vacation expectations and other commitments make the holidays even more difficult. Holidays are sold as a time of family attachment and happiness, but for many families, this season can be filled with stress and difficult emotions. At Davis, Ermis & Roberts in Arlington, TX our team of experienced attorneys have worked with many families over the years to help them through the difficult process of sharing custody over their children.
Co-parenting is never an easy thing to deal with, but it can become more complicated and busier at Christmas, given the plans and hopes involved. Although it might seem impossible to make it through the holidays without some kind of challenge, there are some very simple tips that can help you and your ex-partner support your children. Following this advice can help everything go smoothly so that you and your children can truly enjoy and enjoy themselves with stress and a reduced chance of painful confrontations.
Make Your Children the Priority
Using the kids’ experience as your starting point is a great way to make sure your decisions are coming from a positive place. For example, if you are looking at squeezing in four different family celebrations in a short period to give everyone time with the kids, you should take a minute and imagine the experience from your child’s point of view. How many transitions does that create? When does your child get the time to relax and connect with family? At some point, you aren’t making memories; you’re just creating chaos and exhaustion for them, and yourself.
Keeping your child’s best interests in mind is important when it comes to planning festivities for the holidays. Even if you can’t let everyone have a minute or two to see the child (or children) it is still going to be better for them in the long run than having so much confusion, and only a few moments for them to try and connect with family. If you’re feeling stressed trying to organize plans, then chances are high they will be too, and you should scale back the arrangements for their sake.
Planning Ahead is Important
It is important to always spend time developing a plan that maps out how holidays are spent. If not, you and your co-parent must sit down and decide how you will spend time outside of school and on special occasions and celebrations – and you must do it first. Discuss traditions that you cherish and want to experience with children and be prepared to leave out any activities that cause more stress than fun. Even if you have a solid plan, it must adapt to the changing needs of your child. For example, say your two-year-old child needs to take a nap and be more consistent. Your 16-year-old child will want (and need) time with friends during the school holidays.
Maintain Your Flexibility
Good planning is important, but you also need to maintain flexibility for you, and your children to enjoy a smooth holiday experience. There is no plan which could account for everything that could happen. Your child may be sick and you need to cut short part of the celebration. Maybe your mother-in-law came to town unexpectedly. If you have children at night who want to see them but don’t have anything special, plan to keep in touch with them. These gestures of goodwill make childcare a smoother, longer-term process that will be good for your children.
Have a Conversation About Gifts
If you are celebrating Christmas or Hanukkah with gifts, coordinate with each other effectively.
Holidays are easy to overload when it comes to gift-giving, but that’s not what parents always want for their children. Talk about setting out a few basic rules, cash limits, and things that are out of bounds (there may be electronic devices or items that are out of place or outside your value system). Think about all the relatives that could be bringing gifts and let them know all the guidelines you have made. The earlier you set it up, the easier the process will be. If each of you tries to “one-up” each other with gifts following a divorce, it will be far more difficult to control your gifts than to make a plan that makes sense in the first place. It’s also going to be harder to keep your child’s expectations in a realistic place if you avoid doing this.
Contact Davis, Ermis & Roberts LLC, In Arlington, TX
If you’re struggling with co-parenting during the holidays, or if you’re thinking about how you can handle the process of keeping your children’s experience positive, then it is always better to minimize stress and disruptions. As a well-respected law office in Arlington, TX our team of attorneys is always ready to help you set clear guidelines and limitations when it comes to divorce and co-parenting. If you want to find out more about our services, or if you want to schedule a consultation, be sure to contact us as soon as possible.