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Holidays are for spending time with the family and eating great food, but let us face it — the holidays are a stressful time for everyone. They can be especially stressful for separated or divorced parents.
Co-parenting and child custody are not something anyone wants to worry about, especially during the holiday season.
It can be tough to navigate the expectations of extended family, 2 household schedules, both parents’ strong desire to be with their children as much as possible, and overall tension.
It is important to remember one thing: your children need to come first! They deserve holidays free of stress and full of love and joy. You and your co-parent may disagree on a myriad of issues, but on this one, you can be on the same page.
Here are 5 co-parenting tips to help you get through the holidays.
1. Make a Plan Ahead of Time
To plan ahead, you must first refer to your custody agreement. Your custody agreement likely already contains a holiday plan, but communication between you and your co-parent is key.
We understand that not all co-parenting relationships are amicable (especially if your co-parent is a narcissist), but planning can help make the holidays ideal for the children and family.
Remember to be flexible and put yourself in your children’s shoes. What once worked as a holiday plan when they were 7 may not work or make sense to them when they are 15. For example, they may want to hang out with friends or have their own holiday party plans.
Revising your holiday plan may be necessary, and if that is the case, then a family law attorney should be consulted. A family law attorney can aid you and your co-parent in modifying the schedule.
Perhaps you do not have a holiday plan in place for your children and what their day-to-day will look like when they have days off from school.
By sitting down (or talking on the phone) with your co-parent as soon as possible, you will be able to alleviate a lot of anxiety for you and your children.
You may not always get what you want, so just know going into the holidays that compromises will need to be made.
2. New Beginnings
There is nothing wrong with thinking back to the memories of past holidays before you and your co-parent separated or got divorced.
If you have recently gone through a divorce, things are different for you and your children, so think about starting new traditions. Focusing on the past may bring more sadness and anxiety than happiness and joy.
Mom may have read scary stories during Halloween, and Dad may have set up the model train set at Christmas. The children will no doubt miss these things. Dig deep to come up with fun ideas that can turn into new holiday traditions.
Maybe Aunt Sue has an amazing cookie recipe that you can turn to. Think about watching movies one day (like spooky movies for Halloween or classic Christmas tales).
The important thing to focus on is your family’s togetherness. Give everybody something new to look forward to for future holidays!
3. Focus on the Children
It can be overwhelming trying to balance everything during the holidays. At the end of the day your goal is to ensure your children have a great holiday, so really be intentional about focusing on them.
If this is the guiding principle behind your decision-making, you are more likely to give your children a great holiday experience.
4. Refrain From Attempting to Buy Your Children’s Love
After a divorce, it is natural to want to make sure your children are okay. Making sure your children have stability during the holidays increases the likelihood of great holiday experiences.
However, it may be extremely tempting to buy more gifts than usual in an effort to over-compensate.
It is not healthy to pretend like things are different during the holidays just because there has been a divorce. Acknowledge the situation as best as you can with your children.
Let them know that yes, things are different, but they are loved by both parents, and the holidays are still going to be filled with fun, love, and joy.
It’s easy to get so caught up in making sure everyone else is happy and taken care of that you forget to pay attention to what you need.
The holidays can mean sleepless nights, frantically running around shopping malls, and preparing food (maybe even something you haven’t made before).
Parents need to be healthy both in the mental and physical sense to be their best selves for their children. Make sure you are eating balanced meals, getting enough time alone, and setting aside some time for leisure (yes, it is okay for parents to relax and unwind, even during the holidays).
Remember, it is fine to ask for help. Do not let your pride get the best of you. You need to be able to gauge whether or not your holiday stress is getting so overwhelming that you have a breakdown.
3rd parties, such as a lawyer, mediator, or therapist, are great resources to take advantage of.
The holidays are a time for everyone to take a break from work, school, and stress. This includes you, so have some fun. You are allowed to have fun!
Contact Our Texas Child Support Attorney for Advice Today
The Julian Firm offers personal attention to people in need of family law attorneys in Flower Mound, TX, and the surrounding cities.
If you need help with a family law matter like custody during the holidays, Jared Julian can help — he has been helping families for more than a decade and is also a licensed Mediator.
This makes him a professional in settling family disputes. As an experienced family mediator, he listens to both sides and makes an informed decision that is in the best interest of all parties.
Mr. Julian and his team of experienced family law attorneys are available for a consult. Contact us today.
When faced with a heated situation such as the dissolution of a marriage, call a lawyer with compassion, knowledge, and experience with the legal system.
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