Co-Parenting During the Holiday Season

Co-parenting isn’t always the easiest to navigate during normal times of the year but when you inject the holidays into the mix it can seem downright impossible. The important thing to keep in mind is that it isn’t really about you or your ex, it’s really about your children. When you remember this, it can help you through anything the holiday season might throw your way. And with a little advanced planning with your co-parent, this holiday season can go off without a hitch!

The biggest thing to remember is that your children are the focus this holiday season. Try to make things as easy as possible for them even if that means you won’t get them on exactly the days that you want. This will require advanced planning between you and your co-parent, seeing which days make sense for whom so that your children get to visit with family and still enjoy their time. This will also require some flexibility on your part in case things don’t go exactly as planned. If you need to go with the flow the stress shouldn’t felt by your children.

You will also want to make sure that you coordinate gifts with your co-parent. Not only do you not want to repeat a gift for your child, but you also want to make sure that you both agree upon a certain level of spend. You’ll want to make sure that one co-parent doesn’t feel alienated because the other buys extravagantly. You also want to show a united front and to do so you must make sure that things off limits in one household aren’t being provided in another.

Finally, make sure that you prioritize a little bit of time for yourself. If you aren’t going to have your children the entire holiday season don’t let that time alone daunt you. Use this time for yourself, to relax and enjoy yourself. Spend some quality time with friends you haven’t seen in a while and catch up. Or you can use the time to take a relaxing bath and watch your favorite movies. Whatever helps you destress, use the time you have alone to do just that and you’ll feel rejuvenated.

Co-Parenting during Special Occasions

All too often, the idea of a shared event in a child’s life ”“ for example, a birthday or a graduation ”“ can bring anxiety to divorced parents when they realize they will have to see their exes at the occasion. No doubt you want to be present for your child’s achievement, and the child benefits from the affirmation of both parents attending. But the logistics of the visit can be harsh, especially if you do not see eye to eye with your ex.

When tensions are high between you and your ex, there are constructive ways of dealing with it that can help prevent a flare up between the two of you. One way is by creating buffers ”“ arriving early to find separate seating, for example, or inviting friends and family to dissipate the negative atmosphere. This limited contact can keep animosity out of the picture so that both you and your ex can do what you are supposed to ”“ support and recognize your child’s achievements.

If you plan on celebrating post-event and your ex will be present, do your best to maintain a low key attitude toward your ex. Light conversation and focusing on the child will help keep your issues with your ex under wraps ”“ this is definitely not a time to discuss child support or other divorce-related contentions. This is another place where having other friends and relatives present can help ”“ if you can keep your child talking, you can avoid awkwardness with your ex.

You could also consider holding celebrations separately. Graduation parties, for example, can be held on different days with different sides of the family.

No matter what, these days are not about you or your ex. They are about your child. Placing your focus on him or her is the easiest way to avoid conflict.

Divorce Matters ”“ Denver Family Law Attorneys