Trying to share both time with and responsibility for your children with their other parent can be quite a challenge. Parents often struggle to adjust to shared custody or co-parenting arrangements when they first start living separately.
Still, families eventually adjust and have an easier time navigating co-parenting across two households on a regular, daily basis. Certain days are more likely than others to lead to challenges that could strain your co-parenting relationship and cause a lot of stress for your children.
Holidays and birthdays are typically days that are filled with joy and excitement, but they can easily become miserable if you and the other parents end up in a loud argument. Applying the three rules below to your co-parenting relationship around the holidays and your children’s birthdays will help you minimize the conflict that you have with the other parent.
It is often beneficial to begin discussing the plans for the holiday or birthday several weeks, if not a full month, before the actual date. The sooner the two of you review your plans, the easier will be for you to iron out any wrinkles, such as overlapping holiday party schedules.
Communication is also important when it comes to gift giving around the holidays and on birthdays. Instead of competing with one another, you can cooperate, ensuring that your children receive appropriate gifts that they will enjoy.
Honor family traditions and the children’s preferences
When it comes to celebrating special days, your family may have certain special traditions, like Dad making breakfast in bed for the birthday celebrant. Any way that you can find to incorporate those important, existing traditions and birthday and holiday celebrations while co-parenting will be a positive thing for your children.
Talking with the kids occasionally about what they would like to do for the holidays or their next birthday can also help you make plans that will be truly enjoyable for the whole family.
Don’t let your emotions get the best of you
The stress common with special days can exacerbate the negative emotions you may have toward your ex or the situation, which is why you want to always focus on what would be best for the kids, regardless of how you. Especially if it is the first year after your separation or divorce, special events can be particularly difficult to navigate with calm positivity.
Making your children your biggest priority will reduce the conflict you have in a shared custody arrangement around days that are important for your family.