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Holiday Headaches? Top 7 Co-Parenting Tips for Surviving the Holidays

blankWe all try to create memories that last a lifetime with our families. With images of hiking through the snow for miles to find the “right” tree (think the Griswold Family in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation), many of us want the biggest tree we can afford or fit into our home. We crave that special moment of embrace where our families gather around the tree for a spectacular show of lights and tinsel. You do not have to abandon those ideas when you are co-parenting. You can survive, and thrive, throughout the holidays by following these Top 7 Co-Parenting Tips for Surviving the Holidays.


Survival Tip #1: Stay Flexible and Pay Attention to the Needs of your Child First.

If you have a Parenting Plan or Final Judgment, understand that is the baseline IF you and your co-parent disagree. Most Judges and professionals will encourage you and your co-parent to remain flexible and focus on the needs of your child first and foremost. This is especially true during the holidays. Even though you probably planned how every holiday for the next 18 years is supposed to be divided, you probably did not consider Christmas Concerts, special family occurrences and get togethers, or your child’s longing desire to spend their holidays

Survival Tip #2: Share and Communicate your Holiday Plans with your Co-Parent.

While likely not a requirement for you to share your holiday plans with your co-parent, it is a good idea to make sure you and your co-parent make a plan to ensure that your child has the most memorable holiday possible. Children and families report increased stress during the holidays due to schedule conflicts and extreme travel expectations.

Survival Tip #3: Anticipate the Unexpected.

The saying is, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Every year, we get new statistics about the number of Americans travelling during the holidays season. Most seasons, it seems like over half of Americans are hitting the roads or airways during the time of the year where we have some of the most severe and sudden weather changes. Co-Parents should remain flexible with one another.

Survival Tip #4: Coordinate Gifts.

Again, while not a requirement of your Parenting Plan, it is a good idea to make sure that you and your co-parent work together to ensure that any gifts that are being exchanged are not identical or overlap. No one likes to waste time or money and both of those things are precious commodities during the holiday season.

Survival Tip #5: Understand and Jointly Discuss New Traditions with Child.

Most co-parents feel like they are alone or on their own in parenting their child at some point. This is normal. What should not be normal is acting like you are the only parent in your child’s life. If you have a co-parent that you share time with, consider teaming up to discuss how the holidays may be different post-separation or divorce.

Survival Tip #6: Encourage your Family Members and Friends to Support your Co-Parenting Relationship.

Do not underestimate the impact Cousin Eddie can have on your child’s perspective of your co-parent. It is important that your family members and friends support you in rebuilding trust and positive communication with your co-parent. If you hear or see someone speaking negatively about your co-parent, take the time to address the comment with your child and develop a solution by speaking with that person. Maybe ? can also explain how that is not appropriate.

Survival Tip #7: Realize that not every Co-parent is ready or able to put their Feelings Aside in your Child’s Best Interest.

You need to take care of yourself and not drive yourself crazy trying to figure out why your co-parent refuses to be reasonable. People process separation and divorce differently. Some people may have pre-existing trauma, mental health issues, or substance abuse issues that make it difficult to co-parent (even during the holidays). It is important that you address these issues in a way that is age and child appropriate. No parent wants to see a stressed out or disappointed child during the holidays, so do your best to explain and help ensure that your child has the most amazing holiday possible.

While the holiday season can be rough, follow these Top 7 Co-Parenting Tips for Surviving the Holidays for a laid back and (relatively) stress free holiday season. Contact TK Law by calling our office at 407-834-4847 for more advice and tips for co-parents.

Keep in mind, that not every co-parenting relationship is going to be the same. We are experienced at addressing the issues that frequently come up in high conflict co-parenting situations. We have the tools and understand the causes of many of these co-parenting issues. While we can never force your co-parent to be reasonable, we can help alleviate some of your stress.


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