Co-Parenting During the Holidays
Raising a child with your ex is no easy task. After all, if two people used to be together and they no longer are, it is usually safe to assume that there are many issues on which the two people do not see eye to eye. This can make it especially challenging to co-parent effectively together. One parent may think that the children should be in bed by 8 P.M. sharp every night while the other thinks that the children should be allowed to stay up later. Parents may disagree about extracurricular activities, schoolwork, discipline, eating habits, or any number of things.
The holidays are often a stressful time of year for most adults as it is, so adding the challenge of co-parenting children can make the holidays even more troublesome. However, there are some steps you can take to make the holidays go more smoothly for you, your children, and your children’s other parent.
Depending on where you are in the separation or divorce process, you may not have a formal custody arrangement with your children’s other parent. If you and your spouse have decided that he or she will have the children for Christmas day, there is no reason that you cannot have a second Christmas at your house when you have the children. Christmas does not have to be on December 25 to be Christmas—especially for children. Some divorced parents establish a new ritual to do with their children for the holiday. This could be anything from a silly meal like ice cream for breakfast, or a Christmas game like “Yankee Swap” or Christmas charades.
Sometimes, a person’s ex-spouse does things that he or she does not agree with. Your ex may have been late dropping off the children to your house or perhaps bought them a present you do not think is appropriate. Whatever the dispute, try to keep arguments with your ex out of earshot of the children. It can be very stressful for children to hear their parents arguing or yelling. You may have to bite your tongue and put on a smile for the sake of your kids.
On a related note, avoid talking negatively about your ex to your children. Many divorcing parents put their kids in the middle of the dispute or ask the children to be messengers so that they do not have to speak with their ex. This puts an unreasonable burden on the children. Kids often pick up on the attitudes and behaviors of the adults around them, so staying positive will also help your children feel happy during the holidays.
The holidays can be especially difficult for those parents who are considering or have decided to divorce. If you are at the point that you are ready to start the divorce process, it is imperative that you seek trustworthy legal counsel. An experienced Kane County family law attorney can help guide you through the divorce and fight for your rights. Call The Law Offices of Douglas B. Warlick & Associates at 630-232-9700 for a confidential consultation today.