The LICDP understands that Co-Parenting during the holidays can be an extreme source of stress for divorcing parents. Rest assured, there are steps you can take to ease into this transition and make the process as easy as possible for everyone involved:
Try to have whatever parenting time schedule you are going to follow worked out before the holidays.
Do not wait until the day before to work out your holiday and Christmas vacation schedule. Don’t forget to think about the days surrounding the holidays and school closures. - if you need the assistance of your Collaborative Team, do not hesitate to reach out.
Keep in mind that this is a time of transition for your children.
If it is their first holiday without both parents, it is going to be difficult for them. The best thing you can do is to try to facilitate an enjoyable time for them. If spending the holidays together is not feasible, let them know that you want them to enjoy their time with the other parent.
If one side of the family normally hosts Christmas Eve and the other side normally hosts Christmas Day, that may be the best way to split the holiday. This enables the children to enjoy the traditions of both families. Some families find in preferable to alternate holidays:
For example, one year, one parent has Christmas Day, and the other parent has Christmas Eve, and then the next year, they switch. Sometimes, one parent has both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in a year, and the next year, the other parent has both holidays.
There is no hard-and-fast rule. The important thing is to arrive at an arrangement that allows both parties, and the children, to be as comfortable as possible.
Although the holidays are a difficult and emotional time, try to put your own feelings aside for the sake of your children.
Being separated from your children over the holidays (especially for the first time) can be very difficult and emotional. However, a collaborative professional can help you to deal with your feelings so that your children are not burdened by them or caught in the middle. Their best interests should be paramount, and they should not be made to feel guilty for enjoying their time with each parent separately.
Sometimes it is also a nice idea to help your children buy a gift to give to the other parent on the holidays. Show your children that it is okay, and in fact expected, for them to enjoy part of the holiday with the other parent.
Bottom line: Although going through a divorce during the holidays is challenging for the entire family, handling it cooperatively and collaboratively can minimize the emotional impact on you, your spouse, and most importantly, your children.
Written by Debra L. Rubin, Esq.