What is Co-Parenting?
Co-parenting is when separated or divorced parents work together to raise their children. This involves communication, compromise, and a united front to provide stability and reassurance for the children. The challenges of co-parenting include navigating feelings of resentment or hurt, as well as disagreements on parenting decisions. However, the benefits are significant, as children benefit from having positive relationships with both parents, consistent routines, and a sense of security.
Co-Parenting at Christmas
The holiday season is a joyous time of togetherness, which is the very reason divorced parents find co-parenting a challenge when it arrives. During the Christmas period, successful co-parenting involves making plans in advance, considering the children’s wishes, and ensuring fairness in sharing time with them. It is important to communicate openly and compromise on schedules and traditions to create a harmonious experience for the children. By working together, co-parents can minimize stress and create a positive holiday experience for their children, helping them feel loved and supported despite the family separation. Families who follow these 10 dos and don’ts can make this festive time truly merry.
1. Do Practice Self-Care
Start out the holiday season by making generous time for self-care. Envision the holidays without the kids. Does it include travel, visiting friends, buying a gift, or doing charitable work? Write down these plans and begin to make them happen.
Investing in personal care is one the most meaningful gifts to give the children for Christmas. Not only does it ensure the parent has an enjoyable holiday, but being contented and happy lessens the guilt and sadness the children feel when they are away from one parent.
2. Don’t Ignore the Children Needs
During the holidays, it’s important to focus on meeting the children’s emotional needs. Normally, parents prioritize their desires at the expense of what their kids want. Parents are encouraged to consider their children’s experience of Christmas as much as their own.
Divorced parents already feel alone and spending time without their kids around the holidays can intensify the painful emotions. Parents whose hearts feel broken must remember that it’s not their kids’ job to elevate them—rather, it’s the parents’ responsibility to ensure their kids enjoy this time.
3. Do Make Plans in Advance
Discussing sharing the children during Christmastime can trigger intense emotions, like frustration and anger. The likelihood of disappointment is high when both parents want the same thing. A whirlwind of emotions makes it difficult to have the conversation rationally and calmly.
The solution is to talk about making arrangements for sharing the kids a year in advance of the holidays. Time can lessen strong emotions and allows parents to discuss matters calmly. As a result, both parents are likely to arrive at a mutually beneficial plan for Christmas.
4. Do Share the Day
Agreements come in many forms, but all involve some form of compromise. If it’s practical logistically, consider having the kids spend Christmas Eve at one parent’s house and Christmas day at the other. Or parents might agree to alternate Christmases, with one year at Dad’s and the next at Mom’s.
5. Don’t Forget Traditions
Christmas after a divorce may not seem perfect, especially when traditions are no longer possible without the other parent. But parents who reset their expectations can create memories that last for years to come. Create new traditions to capture the magic of the season.
Who says family traditions must fall on a specific day? Sing Christmas carols on a different day, for instance. Pick traditions in which the parent and children can participate on any day. By remaining flexible, co-parents emphasize the importance of togetherness more than the date it’s shared.
6. Do Help the Kids Transition
When it’s time for the children to shift to the other parent’s house, encourage continual merriment. Take them shopping to buy presents or wrap gifts. A parent might help them pack. Even when one parent can’t be with the kids, they can still set them up for success.
7. Don’t Cram the Holidays
The holidays are meant to be a jolly time, but rapidly shifting from household to household takes a negative toll on the kids. While it’s expected that parents aim to maximize their time with the kids, cramming the holidays is unpleasant. Slowing down enhances everyone’s vacation time.
8. Do Keep the Dialogue Open
Granted, some divorced parents are unable to civilly communicate face to face. However, when coparenting is involved, it’s necessary to discuss plans for the holiday season. Face-to-face conversations aren’t the only way for divorcees to communicate.
Make arrangements through email, text, or even apps. Parents can upload schedules to specific websites or share information, all without having an in-person discussion. With the predominance of today’s technology, divorced parents have little excuse to not have civil discussions.
9. Don’t Compete
Christmas isn’t a time for one parent to attempt to outdo the other to win the kids’ affection. Divorced parents often spend and do more to achieve this end. Be aware that the pressure of competition around the holidays is unpleasant for the kids and does little for their well-being.
10. Do Accept the Learning Curve
Every parent wants Christmas to be perfect, but the busy holidays can go awry at times. Parents who recognize their mistakes in their co-parenting efforts can choose to learn and do better next year. Practice self-forgiveness because co-parenting during the holidays is never easy.
Co-parenting at Christmas is loaded with numerous dos and don’ts. Remember that children enjoy the holidays far more when their parents present a unified front. Add an element of ordinariness, fun, structure, and predictability to co-parenting and everyone in the family wins.
How Allen Gabe Law, PC Can Help
The heightened emotions during Christmas can cause some parents to spark disagreements about parenting time. When your ex-spouse ignores your rights to see your child, the child custody attorneys from Allen Gabe Law, PC, can advocate on your behalf in a court of law.
Our skilled lawyers are highly knowledgeable about family laws in the state of Illinois. The courts consider numerous factors, such as the wishes of both parents and the children, the distance between the parents’ homes, the parents’ daily schedules and any necessity to restrict parenting time.
We provide you with strong legal representation to resolve disputes surrounding parenting time, whether that is through mediation or in court. We fight for the best interests of you and your children so that you have the continued opportunity to maintain a healthy, robust relationship with them.
When issues of parenting time arise during the holidays or any other time of year, consult the qualified family law attorneys at Allen Gabe Law, PC. We serve families in Schaumburg, Illinois, and the nearby communities. Call us today to schedule a consultation.