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Healthy Methods for Co-Parenting Over the Holidays

After splitting from your spouse, it will naturally take time to adjust to your new normal, especially if you are co-parenting your children together. This can be especially difficult during the holidays, which usually take the form of family celebrations and homecomings. In today’s blog, we recommend some effective co-parenting methods that look after your and your child’s wellbeing during the holidays.

Methods for Co-Parenting Over the Holidays

It’s easy to focus on the negatives when you’re surrounded by friends and coworkers talking about their children and big family gatherings for Thanksgiving or Christmas. You might feel guilty for dividing your child’s family, or you might feel despondent that you don’t get to spend time with them on the actual holiday. However, remember that your child will always have both their parents; they don’t lose a Christmas just because you’re divorced. They just spend it differently now.

Not Trying to Fit into the Traditional Box

So, the first method to facilitate a healthy holiday with your child is to remember that you are no longer confined to the traditional box of holiday celebrations. While a married couple might celebrate traditionally with one big meal, you and your child do not sacrifice the holiday just because both parents aren’t sitting at the table in the same way anymore.

The key is not to compare your new ways of celebrating to how you used to do them. Circumstances are different now, but deviation from tradition does not make a holiday any less than it was! In fact, you now have the creative license to completely change it up for your child and make it more modern and fun than the traditional holiday. You can innovate your own traditions, such as teaching your child how to make a special dish like pumpkin pie and watching a classic movie together. (What’s more intimate than that?). If you and your spouse are on good terms, you can also always opt for a nice dinner out together or have takeout in, keeping everyone together for special holidays. You’re no longer a “family,” but you’re still parents.

Celebrating Your Children’s Happiness

Above all, remember that your priority as parents is your children. As long as your children are happy, you’ve done your best. Whether or not your holiday celebrations conform with tradition, or familiarity, a smile from your child means you’ve made them happy, and that’s the essence of the holiday season. Additionally, your child might not even think that the whole family sitting together is the best way to celebrate Christmas; they might actually just want to spend time individually with both parents their own way (or open gifts from both sides of the family!). Whatever you do to make your child happy, they’ll appreciate the holidays they spend with you.

Avoiding Activities That Might Interfere with Your Mental Health

Of course, we’re not suggesting that you sacrifice your own well-being to please your child. We’re only saying that your child’s happiness is important you raise them following a divorce. You shouldn’t have to put up any pretense, as that’s the reason you divorced in the first place – to leave behind the negative parts of your relationship. So, another important method for co-parenting effectively is to avoid activities that could detriment your mental health.

For instance, you don’t have to be with your spouse for your child’s sake. If you’re on amicable terms, that might be a good option for a special occasion, but if spending time with your spouse for a dinner does more harm than good for you and ices over the atmosphere for the child, it is better to celebrate separately. It is also harder for you to enjoy the holidays with your child when your mental health is being tested. Take care of yourself as well as your child; their happiness depends as much on yours.

Don’t Project onto Your Children

Lastly, it’s important that you don’t let any negative emotions or feelings project onto your child. Children are much more adept at reading our emotions than we think, and children of divorced parents are even more sensitive to their parent’s feelings of unhappiness or guilt. One of the hardest burdens you shoulder as a parent is keeping a brave face. However, that’s the least you could do for your child over the holidays, and remember that you are living a life now largely liberated from the mental and emotional turmoil of the tense relationship you left behind. Now, it’s just you and your children; it’s you and the people you love the most that you’ve chosen to surround yourself with. And that’s how holidays are best spent!

As a full holiday season approaches, enjoy your time with your child in whatever way works best for you. Look after both your and your child’s emotional well-being, and don’t forget that, at the end of the day, you are what matters most to your child. In a divided family, the best thing you can do is to just be there to have fun during Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the New Year.

If you believe certain modifications should be made to your parenting plan to accommodate for the holidays or to better address the holidays for your child, reach out to an attorney for legal help. We want to preserve your parent-child relationship as you deserve, and we can get started on your case just in time for the holidays.

Schedule a free consultation with Singleton Smith Law Offices, Inc. today.