Co-Parenting During the Holiday Season
Co-parenting during the holidays often brings out the worst in even the most well-meaning parents. Barring situations where safety issues prevent co-parenting during the holidays, a few reminders should keep serious issues at bay.
Have a PlanHaving a detailed holiday parenting schedule will allow each parent to plan holiday activities with family and friends, without the confusion that often accompanies holiday scheduling. Plan your holiday schedule and activities, in detail. Include such details as drop-off/pick-up times, locations for parenting exchanges and transportation so that each parent may make the most of their holiday time with the child(ren).
Follow the PlanLast minute schedule changes/cancellations are not only frustrating to co-parents but also very likely disappointing to your children. Do your best to put any acrimony aside and follow through with holiday parenting plans. The time to be shared is minimal and both parents want to maximize their time with the child(ren) and their respective families. This often results in stress and fighting during what should be an enjoyable time. Remember that holidays are a time for celebrating and enjoying the company of friends and loved ones. Unnecessary cancellations or changes can create stress for all involved in the co-parenting situation.
Allow Your Children to CelebrateNo matter how you may feel about your co-parent, allow your child(ren) to enjoy the holiday with him/her. Your children didn't ask for the stress that accompanies co-parenting during the holidays, nor do they deserve to experience it. Put your feelings aside for the day and attempt a positive, harmonious, facade. Recognize that your children likely are excited to spend time with their co-parent and his/her family. Vent privately to a family member or a friend after the fact, if you must (outside of earshot of the children, of course). The holidays your children experience now, will become their memories. Do your best to make them good ones. They deserve that.
Choose Your BattlesIssues inevitably arise that potentially could cause upset during a holiday or during a parenting exchange. Whether it is a drop-off/pick-up occurring later than expected or the unanticipated presence of a third-party at a family gathering, do your best to behave appropriately. Remember, your actions directly impact your child(ren) and their holiday experience and memories. Take a deep breath, turn the other cheek and rise above any discord for the benefit of your child(ren). Although reacting to a co-parent's poor behavior or actions may be tempting, take the high road for the sake of your child(ren).