Remaining Amicable with Your Co-Parent During the Holidays
Co-parenting can be challenging, but remaining amicable with your spouse can make it easier.
Trying to remain amicable or peaceful with the person you are co-parenting can seem, at the very least, unpleasant. After all, there is a reason things didn’t work out with that person. However, when children are involved, it’s wise to do your best to be on somewhat cordial, if not friendly, terms. How do we keep the holiday magic alive for our children while working with child custody arrangements and co-parenting stresses?
Here are some tips to help you and your co-parent navigate the holidays successfully.
Make Your Own Rules
You don’t have to celebrate the holidays on a specific date to enjoy those holidays. When it comes down to it, a date is simply a number. If your co-parent has asked to have the children on Christmas Eve for a particular event, it can be easier to agree than to fight about the date. Your children need to see you work out this child custody matter amicably.
Remember, traditions were started by someone. Now that you and your co-parent are learning to navigate the waters of divorce and child custody, you might consider beginning your own new traditions. Keep some of your favorites, of course, but add to them with new traditions that are just yours with your children.
Create a Plan That Works for You and Stick to It
The holidays are stressful enough without last-minute plans and changes to holiday child custody arrangements. Clearly communicate your expectations with your ex. Remember, no detail is too small when you are ironing out your holiday plan.
Once you’ve agreed to your holiday co-parenting plan, communicate them to your children. Let them know that both of their parents have discussed and agreed upon the holiday plan. Stick to the plans you’ve made as much as possible. This helps set boundaries and keep everyone on the same page.
Choose Your Battles Wisely
The holidays are supposed to be light and fun, and it’s our job as parents to help keep that fun alive for our children. Sometimes, even when everything seems to be going perfectly, something can happen to create tension. When it does, and it will, you should ensure that you are ready for the emotion and that you have the ability to work with your co-parent for the sake of your children.
Don’t Put the Kids in the Middle
The temptation is there to give our children the third degree when they return from a visit with the ex. However, if we are questioning everything, it no longer is simple interest in whether our children had fun. It has become an interrogation.
Rather than interrogate your children about how things went at the co-parent’s house, embrace the natural excitement that follows that visit. Channel it into ornament-making or other holiday activities of your own.
Don’t Bad-Mouth Each Other
Sometimes it’s hard to separate your anger and emotions from the divorce proceeding from your current dealings with your co-parent. Simply the thought of dealing with them can cause anxiety in some and anger in most. However, it’s essential to remember that while that person is no longer your spouse, they are still your child’s other parent.
Don’t trash talk your co-parent, especially when you are with your children. Instead, save trash talk sessions for times when you are out with friends if you feel the need to vent. Show your children you can attempt to be respectful and mature regarding your ex.
Keep Things Positive
Don’t dampen the holidays by placing adult issues on your children’s shoulders. Don’t say or do things that will make your children feel guilty for spending time with their other parent. It isn’t their fault your ex is your ex, and they need you to show them how to stay optimistic about the situation.
Let Your Children Have Access to Your Ex
Co-parenting means that you and your ex work together for the benefit of your children. Even if the child custody agreement says it’s “your turn” to have them, allow them to see or speak with your ex if they want. Don’t get caught up in whose “day” or “time” it is supposed to be with the children.
Check in With the Children
As co-parents, you and your ex should put the children’s needs before yours. That includes helping them process emotions that they aren’t accustomed to having. You should both routinely check in to see how the children are handling everything and if they have ideas for how to spend the holidays that you might not have considered.
Co-parenting at any time of year is hard, but it can be especially difficult during the holidays. Implementing strategies that help you remain amicable with your co-parent is essential to making the holidays a joyous time for your children. If you need help with your custody plan contact the attorneys at Nebraska Legal Group at(402) 509-7033 for assistance.