Next week, families across Tennessee will come together to break bread and give thanks. If you are a parent who recently went through a separation or divorce, this holiday season is likely to be especially stressful and difficult as you attempt to adjust to and navigate your new role as a co-parent.
The holidays are about spending time with family and friends and every parent wants to be able to engage in long-held traditions and make memories with their own children. Unfortunately, if you and your ex share custody, you may need to adjust to spending some or all of a holiday without your kids by your side.
While sharing custody of your children during the holidays will be hard, it’s important to put on a brave face and to always keep your kids and their best interests in mind when communicating and interacting with your ex.
Co-Parenting Holiday Dos
- Be Proactive – While you may dread the holiday-custody conversation, putting it off isn’t going to make it any easier or the outcome any better. Stop procrastinating and open the lines of communication with your ex to discuss holiday schedules and plans as far in advance as possible. Being proactive helps ensure that both you and your kids know what to expect and can make appropriate and alternate plans.
- Be Flexible – Many divorced parents end up trading off holidays with the kids from year to year. If this year, something comes up and it turns out that your ex’s relatives can only get together when you were supposed to have the kids, you may need to compromise. Remember to keep things in perspective and that there’s no reason that you can’t celebrate Thanksgiving or Christmas a day or even a week later.
- Be Nice – The holidays are traditionally viewed as a time to set aside differences and come together. While battle wounds from your recent divorce may still be fresh, for everyone’s sake, it’s important to embrace the messages of the holiday season and to vow to be nice or at least civil when interacting with your ex.