For the “happiest time of the year,” there sure are plenty of hot-button issues between you and your children’s other parent. From whom will keep the kids over their winter school vacations or who will wake up with the children in their home after Santa arrives, there are many triggers awaiting already stressed-out parents.
If this is your first holiday post-separation or divorce, it may help to know that these situations are quite common. But all can be reasonably settled as long as both co-parents focus on remaining civil to one another.
Put the kids’ best interests ahead of your own
Many of your conflicts can be resolved simply by both co-parents agreeing to do what’s best for their children. During the holidays, this can mean swapping weekends, allowing the kids get to spend time with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins who are visiting from out of state.
Don’t rehash old arguments
Holidays can be a time for old, festering wounds to resurface. Resist the urge to re-litigate your divorce with your former spouse. You can agree to disagree without ceding ground. Humor can also be deployed to defuse a potentially contentious point between former spouses. The takeaway here is letting the past remain in the past.
Don’t make assumptions
You might assume that your co-parent will understand why you want to swap custody weekends. But they may have planned something special for the kids as well and don’t agree. Here, communication is key. Ideally, you will have discussed this topic several weeks (or even months) ago. But in the case of last-minute plans, flexibility on both sides can lead to solutions.
When you hit the proverbial wall
If your co-parenting plan is untenable and fails to meet your family’s needs, it may be time to revisit your custody order with the court. Learning more about your legal options can help you chart the best course.