Here are 5 holiday survival tips for divorced parents to help them work together to make the best experience:
- Plan it out. Make a list of the events that people want to do for the holiday, including for each side of the family, and if the child has any special event they want to attend. Map and calendar it all out to include as many as possible. If there are conflicts on particular days, work out which one will be attended. Having a plan that everyone agrees to is the first major step to ensuring a smooth holiday month.
- Discuss the gifts. It’s important that both parents are okay with the gifts that the other one wants to purchase. If both parents don’t agree to a certain gift then it should be left off the table. For example, if one parent wants to purchase the teen a pellet gun and the other disagrees, then that gift should be avoided. Work out the bigger gifts so there’s no problems that arise after they have been opened.
- Be patient. Co-parents or not it’s important to practice patience during this time of the year. As people find it to be a more stressful time it is a good idea to do things to relax and reduce stress, such as meditation, reading, taking a walk, etc. Make time during the month to relax and simply do nothing.
- Agree to not fight. It’s common for co-parents to want to fight to get their way on every issue, often times taking it to court. Instead of that route, which is more difficult for the kids, too, agree to work together. In doing so, you will need to compromise, but it will be worth it. Remember, the kids are watching what battles are waged and how they are fought, and will often repeat those patterns later on in life. Make sure what you are teaching them is something you’d want them repeating.
- Put the kids first. The years of co-parenting during the holidays are fleeting. It’s imperative to put the kids first and give them the best possible experience. Ask yourself what is in the child’s best interest when challenges arise. Being able to have some traditions and see family and extended family members are positive ways to help give the child a good foundation.
“Study after study shows what we already know – children develop more fully and have a greater chance of being successful in life when both of their parents are actively involved in their lives,” said Dads’ Resource Center founder Dr. Joel N. Myers. “It is my most sincere wish that all children are given the opportunity to benefit so greatly from their fathers’ engaged presence.”