The holidays are a time of peace and joy, a time for families and traditions. But that can be shattered when this is your first time working through the holidays as a divorced parent. It can be lonely and painful when the ex has the kids, leaving you to fend for yourself.
It may be challenging; definitely, the first year could be the hardest, but you can survive the holidays when the ex has the kids. Like the site, Moving Past Divorce states, “While shared parenting provides children the opportunity to spend time with both of their parents and can enhance a child’s feeling of being loved and sense of security, holiday time presents unique challenges.”
Handling Co-Parenting during the Holidays
It’s difficult when the ex and kids are doing traditions that used to be done as a family. The parenting schedule arranges the plans, but it can be painful to remember how different things are now. Family traditions such as visiting the in-laws on Christmas eve occur without you.
But it’s not all bad, now is the time to start something new: begin a new tradition, find new friends, become a new you.
Here are some tips to help navigate this tricky time of year:
- Talk with someone – recognize your emotions. Get together with a friend, family member, or therapist and talk about your feelings. Sometimes just getting it all out helps. It doesn’t solve all the problems, but it is good to get all the thoughts out of your head and work through them.
- Make plans – you don’t have to have every moment spoken for, but it’s good to have plans to do something so you won’t be frantically finding something to do at the last moment. It takes courage to reach out to someone and invite them over, or you to their place, but it just may work out for the best.
- Do something new – think back to something you always wanted to do for the holidays but were never able to do so. Well, now is your chance. Try a new restaurant, travel with your best friend, or decorate the house exactly as you want. Think of what makes you happy and do that.
- Gather with others – getting together with other parents without children lets you leave the judgments and questions behind. These people understand what you are going through. Take this time to listen, talk, laugh, and learn.
- Stay in touch – it’s good to call or FaceTime with the children when you’re not with them, but please don’t overdo it and ultimately infringe on their time. Knowing they are safe and happy will alleviate some of the worries when they are not with you.
Whether you and your ex have it worked out to alternate turns with the kids during the holidays or split the time with them, you will get through it. And through the years, it will become easier to plan and schedule your time with the children.
You might want to read; SEPARATED IN TEXAS? 7 TIPS FOR A “NORMAL” HOLIDAY FOR YOUR CHILDREN
When You and Your Co-Parent Disagree on a Schedule
Let’s say that you and your ex have worked out a co-parenting schedule, and then they change it. Your co-parent wants you to relinquish your time with the kids and let them take the children for themselves. All the time and frustration spent on the parenting schedule is being disregarded, which can be infuriating.
First, try to work it out with the other person. Remind them of the previous legal schedule that they signed and agreed to. You can be accommodating but should not have to relinquish your time with the kids completely.
When nothing works and the adults cannot come to a decision, it might be time to contact your attorney. We know that you don’t want to endure a legal battle during the holidays, but sometimes you need legal counsel to settle a dispute.
We have experienced attorneys who understand the stress and pain that come with divorce. We know the frustration that can build between co-parents and are here to help. Call us today, and we will work to resolve your issues.