For many recently divorced or separated parents, the holidays are the most challenging times to get through. There are so many family memories steeped in Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and New Years’ Eve that it is easy to lose control of your emotions during the winter holidays, particularly when the other parent is not cooperating with the parenting plan. As it stands, 88% of Americans say the holidays are the most stressful time of the year. If this is your first holiday season divorced or separated, chances are that it will be even more difficult for you. Below are a few tips for getting the most out of the holidays by creating a structured co-parenting plan that works for everyone.
The first step in getting the most out of this holiday season and avoiding unnecessary conflict is to sit down with the other parent and create a plan on which you can agree. The key to creating a healthy holiday co-parenting plan is compromise and communication. You might both want to have your child with you on Christmas day, but if one parent plans on visiting relatives in another city, splitting Christmas might not be possible. There are plenty of workarounds, however. The key is communication and a willingness to hear the other parent out.
While it is crucial that you and the other parent create a co-parenting plan and try to stick to it, it is also important to remember that sometimes plans have to change. Flights get delayed, kids get sick last minute, etc. Co-parenting during the holidays requires that both parents go with the flow, at least to some degree.
It is hard to let go of the past, especially traditions surrounding the fall and winter holiday seasons. But letting go of the past may be necessary; it simply may no longer be possible to recreate the holiday experiences you had with your child in the past. Try creating happiness and excitement with new traditions that you and your child can look forward to each year.
One of the main reasons Americans dread the holidays is the cost and pressure of gift-giving, according to Lending Tree. Gift-giving should be fun, not a burden. And the holiday season is definitely not a time to try and buy your child’s happiness or “get them on your side.” Talk with your child’s other parent about spending limits, the number of gifts, and the type of gifts you both believe your child should receive. Most importantly, make sure that gift-giving does not become a contest or a way to “make everything alright.” Spending quality time with your child is much more important.
If you are going through divorce or separation, need assistance creating a parenting plan, or have any other family law needs, help is here. Contact our Virginia family law attorneys today at the Virginia Family Law Center at 703-865-5839 to schedule a free consultation.
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