12/23/2014, 22:03:00

3 Tips for Co-Parenting Over the Holidays by Tim Backes from CustodyXChange


One of the most difficult aspects of co-parenting is trying to work through conflicts with your ex. The two of you have already proven to be different enough that divorce was a better option than trying to stay together and work out your problems. Do you think that post divorce conflict will be any easier to work out than pre-divorce conflict?


One very contentious time period in many co-parenting relationships is the holidays. No matter what you and your ex have agreed to in your parenting plan, there will be a disagreement at some point due to the dynamic nature of holiday planning, and the stress that often comes with major holidays.


Here are 3 tips to help you mitigate or even avoid common holiday hang-ups for co-parents.


Plan Ahead


The biggest way to make sure you don’t have a big blowout during a major family holiday is to plan ahead. That means, when you are first making your parenting plan, put a lot of thought into how you will mange the custody split during the holidays.


Making sacrifices up front to your ex to expedite the mediation or litigation process could end up being a mistake. Try to come up with agreeable long-term solutions that won’t lead to annual fights.


One example would be to have you child spend alternating Christmases with each parent once they reach a certain age. Or, one parent can have custody of the child for Christmas Eve and the next morning until 10AM when they would then spend time with the other parent. 


Regardless of the solution you work out, making sure the plan is going to appear reasonable for the children and both parents for the long haul is a step in the right direction.


Buy as a Team


When you are holiday shopping for your kids, you need to come to the realization that their other parent is probably doing the same thing. There are two ways to handle this.


The first way is to make this a battle of who can buy the most expensive and amazing gifts. This is a terrible idea.


The other way is to coordinate with your ex. Instead of trying to compete with them, work with them. It might seem like an unpleasant idea, but it’s much better than engaging in some kind of toy-based buying contest.


Keep it Jolly


Your ex probably has a very good handle on how to irritate you. That skill paired with holiday stress can make for a very volatile situation.


It’s important to remember to try and keep any disagreements between you and your ex to a minimum, especially during holidays, for the sake of your children. They want to have fun, not get caught up in your drama.


Even if you do end up getting a little heated, try to do it where your children cannot hear or see the argument. Holidays can be magical and their childhood will not last forever.


In Summary


The holidays are probably the worst time to get into a heated dispute with your children’s other parent. You can easily avoid this by making it a point to have a smooth and fun holiday season.


With a little planning, a little cooperation, and some self-control, everyone in your family should be able to enjoy the holidays.

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