Fair   82.0F  |  Forecast »

Co-parenting at the Holidays

How divorced parents can create a season of peace with their kids and families

Most single parents say that the holidays are bittersweet, especially when trying to co-parent with a difficult former spouse or coordinate scheduling with former in-laws. Many report feeling lonely, depressed or angry during this time. Yet they want the holidays to be memorable and joyful for their children. Keep these four tips in mind to promote the peace that's supposed to define the season.

Plan early

If you approach the holidays with a haphazard, last-minute attitude, you're likely to get frustrated, especially if aligning plans with the other parent. Settle ahead on holiday travel with extended family. This also ensures you'll be able to make appropriate plans for yourself while your children are busy with the other side of the family – which helps you to minimize feelings of loneliness and depression.

Let comfort be your guide

Whether you accept your ex-mother-in-law's invite to dinner is really is a matter of comfort. If you don't feel comfortable, chances are everyone else will pick up on that. If you know your ex-brother-in-law dislikes you and is likely to be glaring at you across the dinner table, how might that affect all parties? Will the kids worry that you and their other parent will get into a fight? If this is the case, respectfully decline by saying you don't want to make others uncomfortable with your presence, including the kids, and that they'll have a turn to be with the kids another time. Children don't need their parents to pretend around the holidays; they just need permission to love, appreciate and enjoy being with whatever family members they spend time with.

Start new rituals

Maybe your ex-husband hated raisin pie, so you never made it. This is a perfect opportunity to resurrect family traditions from your past or begin new ones. Perhaps research how some of your ancestors celebrated certain holidays – and then adopt some of those rituals. It'll help you connect to your heritage and be a great history lesson for your children. Or think about what you'd like to teach your kids about being thankful, peaceful, giving, etc. and develop rituals that illuminate these values. For instance, make cookies to take to a children's home or shelter. Kids will remember the simplest of traditions and look forward to them every year if parents make them a priority and follow through consistently.

Forget about the Joneses

One of the worst tragedies of the holiday season is when divorced or single parents feel they must "buy" their kids' love. Chances are it'll create a sense of entitlement, rather than the selfless values we like to associate with the season. And if you go into debt to provide what you think your kids need during this time, you're setting yourself up for post-holiday anxiety and depression, which ultimately will affect your parenting. Find ways to make the holidays meaningful without a lot of cash outlay. Odds are you'll discover the best gifts really are those that have little monetary value, but come straight from the heart.

Nov 29, 2012 03:37 pm
 Posted by  mtpgroove

It's nice that that they are remembering divorced parents. Nothing about parenting time is easy. Every day is a struggle, especially being a Mom on the other end paying child support.

Add your comment:
Advertisement

More »Latest Articles & Blog Posts

Float Baby 'Spa' Offers Relaxing Pool Paradise for Babies

Float Baby 'Spa' Offers Relaxing Pool Paradise for Babies

Infants chill in calm waters, literally, at a Houston business complete with gentle massage for wee ones. Is it over-the-top pampering or actually beneficial?

Bacon Recipes for Every Meal

Bacon Recipes for Every Meal

From Kraft's bacon breakfast cupcakes to bacon-wrapped meatloaf, there are tons of ways to incorporate bacon into everything from breakfast to dessert. Try one of these recipes in honor of...

Back-to-School Lunch Notes Craft Project

Back-to-School Lunch Notes Craft Project

Add an extra dash of love to your child's midday meal away from home with a customized little letter, complete with a top-class loose-leaf paper spin.

CannaMoms Fight to Legalize Medical Marijuana for Kids

CannaMoms Fight to Legalize Medical Marijuana for Kids

Three moms of severely sick children want to change Florida law to treat their kids with cannabis. Opponents worry about lack of research and possible dangers.

Tips and Advice for Buying Glasses Online for Kids

Tips and Advice for Buying Glasses Online for Kids

Ever considered purchasing eyeglasses on the Internet for your child? A local optometrist offers insight into the process – and what to be cautious of.

Fruit Kiddy Cocktail Recipes from The Bird and The Bread

Fruit Kiddy Cocktail Recipes from The Bird and The Bread

Want to add a layer of fancy, not to mention healthy, to your kids' next snack or after-dinner dessert? Try these three recipes from the Birmingham restaurant.

Dick & Jane Baking Company Offers Smart After-School Snacks

Dick & Jane Baking Company Offers Smart After-School Snacks

A mom and dad team from Troy, Michigan teamed up to create wholesome, delicious cookies that teach kids state capitals, language, presidents and more.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement