Monday, December 22, 2014

Parenting During the Holidays

Parenting During the Holidays

The holidays can be challenging for even the most organized and simple families.  The addition of new families and households can be even more overwhelming.  Add in a visit with your ex and your holidays might have gone from “the most wonderful time of the year” to the most horrible time of the year.  Co-parenting during the holidays can be difficult and full of obstacles, but it can be done with minimal controversy.  Whether the problem is seeing your ex in an effort to help the child or children have a great holiday or vying for time with your child at such a family-oriented time, a family split up can make for a difficult holiday season.

There are, however, some ways that you and your co-parent can work together to make the season less miserable and more celebratory for your child or children.  The following tips, along with some from this Huffington Post article and co-parenting post, could help you navigate this time.

1.      Make a Plan.  The plan should include all aspects of the holidays, including financial obligations.  The holidays can mean more childcare costs due to the children being out of school.  Be sure to communicate with your co-parent about how you might organize your schedules to minimize costs and split them where necessary.  Also, be sure to communicate to your child or children where everyone is going to be at the holidays so they are not taken aback by missing a time with one parent or one family.

2.      Celebrate with your co-parent.  While this may seem difficult or entirely out of the question, it is an option to consider.  If you and your co-parent can get along for long enough to enjoy some holiday time, it might be beneficial for your child.  Try opening gifts together or attending the school holiday program together.

3.      Be aware that your child or children can read emotions and tones in your voice.  You may think that you are being sneaky by using sarcasm and shooting your ex a “look that could kill” when you think your child is not looking, but the truth is that children are very perceptive.  They are likely to pick up on your tones and emotions.  If they sense anger or sadness, they are likely to start feeling guilty and those feelings might ruin the holiday season for them.

4.      Schedule some down time.  The holidays can be hectic and exhausting for even the most organized and energetic adult.  A child being shuffled between families is likely to feel the stress more than your average person.  It is important that you schedule some alone time for you child with some activities that might help them unwind and calm down.

If you or someone you know is dealing with a divorce or custody issues this holiday season, contact our office to learn how we may be able to help you and your family.  Our attorneys are experienced in family law and will work to find the best outcome for everyone.  Contact our office for more information. 

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