The air is getting chillier and our calendars are getting busier, which tells one very important thing; the holidays are upon us. As we make plans to gather and celebrate with loved ones, the challenges that co-parents face at times like this become exceedingly evident, making the need for clear, concise communication between you and your children’s other parent pivotal to having a successful holiday season. Despite the holidays being a joyous time for many, it’s a period centered around time with family. When yours is no longer whole, the season can amplify emotions that make the intricacies of co-parenting much more complex.
Having clarity in communication with your co-parent is the best way to make the holidays more harmonious for not just the two of you, but also for your children. Amidst the Christmas shopping and decorating, making time for clear communication with your co-parent is one of the best gifts you can give your family.
In this blog we’ll provide an overview of the role that clear communication can play in creating a peaceful environment for your children during the most wonderful time of the year.
Understanding The Challenges
For parents who are looking to make it to the other side of the holiday season unscathed, it’s important to understand the challenges at hand. There is a great deal of emotional stress that the holidays can even bring upon families and individuals who aren’t divorced or separated, so matters can be especially complicated for those who are. Addressing these challenges can make for a more supportive relationship between you and your co-parent.
Between different travel plans and the pressure of attendance at family gatherings, what you and your co-parent both want for yourselves and your children might not be obtainable if you aren’t able to have an open dialogue. Discussing possible conflicts ahead of time can eliminate the likelihood of misunderstandings and make the season much more smooth.
Though it may be difficult, you may also want to take your children’s preferences into consideration if they’re able to express them to avoid any resentment. However, you and your co-parent should ultimately create an arrangement that’s in their best interests.
Make A Plan
Collaborating with your co-parent on a plan for the holidays is one of the most effective ways you can communicate. Though it might feel awkward to initiate conversations about the upcoming events because it’s such a delicate topic, you’ll end up with a better and more organized approach to the season. That being said, every couple is different, so the reasons for your divorce or separation likely have impacted how you and your former spouse communicate. Navigating this terrain isn’t uncommon, but that doesn’t make it easy. It’s natural to turn to friends or family for advice, but remember that what might have worked for them, may not work for you and your co-parent. That’s why you and your co-parent should do what works for you, whether that be communicating through text or email only, in person, or through a mediation attorney.
No matter what grounds of communication you decide to use, you should prioritize transparency and a mutual understanding that your upcoming plans should be centered around what’s best for your children.
If you’re struggling to create a plan for the holidays, there are a variety of online resources available for building shared calendars and schedules for families post-divorce. The majority of these resources are apps or online tools including, but not limited to the following:
- Our Family Wizard
- Custody X Change
- And more!
Try to be courteous to your co-parent, taking into consideration what their preferences might be. After all, you never know when you’ll need that same courtesy extended to you.
Addressing Disagreements And Conflicts
Like any other family, conflicts and disagreements are going to occur. It’s how you handle these issues that matter. For starters, keeping disputes between you and your co-parent is paramount to protecting your children’s well-being. Even at a young age children are extremely aware of tension between their parents, which can make them feel caught in the middle. That’s why you should remain as civil as possible during all exchanges with your children’s other parent, but especially if you’re in the midst of a disagreement. However, you can only be responsible for your own actions.
If you find yourself at odds with your co-parent over holiday topics, there are a few strategies you can personally implement to find a positive resolution including:
- Giving yourself time to think. – You don’t have to respond to your co-parent right away (unless there is a concern for your children’s safety); you can take a moment to collect yourself and decide how you want to respond.
- Seek solutions, not punishments. – You are no longer married to this person and being petty will only waste time. Rather than playing the blame game, propose ideas for the two of you to find a workaround to your issue.
Keep Your Focus On Your Children
As you maneuver through the holiday season, remember that communication with your co-parent is key. It’s undeniable that you will face challenges and likely won’t see eye-to-eye on everything, but if you keep your focus on your children and meeting their needs, you’re much more likely to have a cohesive plan for upcoming events, which makes a special time of year even more memorable for your children.
How Foxtrot Family Law Can Help You
If you and your spouse are contemplating divorce, co-parenting over the holidays is something to take into account when you’re sorting out the details of custody arrangements. Luckily for you, we have over 35+ years of combined experience with Alabama’s family laws, so we have the skills and knowledge needed to help you divorce on your terms while creating an arrangement that is in the best interest of your children, even during the holidays. Call Foxtrot Family Law Today to request a consultation and learn more about your options!