How do you Co-Parent during the Holiday Season?

Whether you are recently separated or divorced, or are a veteran co-parenter, Christmas is a tough time of year. Not only is it difficult and stressful to coordinate events and schedules, but the holidays may bring up memories that you may wish to stay buried. It can also be difficult to balance the needs of yourself and your child, but recognise that you are doing your best. Here are

1. Make new memories

You may worry that your child won’t get the same holiday experience as before you separated, which may be true. Your child may also be grieving their old life. Make an effort to create new memories that bring pleasure and a sense of security to your child. This may be visiting friends, doing a puzzle, volunteering, or enjoying a special meal.

2. Validate your child’s feelings

Let them know that it’s okay to feel sad or to miss the other parent during the holidays. Don’t make them feel guilty about their time away from you.

3. Be mindful of loyalty conflicts

It is important to avoid intensifying your child’s loyalty conflicts during the holiday season. Try to be flexible and understanding as you negotiate schedules, as your child may feel torn between their parents’ two different worlds.

4. Focus on positive communication with your ex-spouse

Make sure you are respectful when communicating with your ex-spouse, especially in front of your child. Also avoid bad-mouthing your ex-spouse to your child.

5. Remember that your child is not a possession

Do your best not to put them in the middle by making them a messenger between you and your ex-spouse. Don’t ask too many questions about their time with their other parent but express joy if they had a good experience.

6. Keep your child’s best interests in mind

Children usually benefit from spending time with both their parents. Be flexible and do your best to ensure that your kids will be able to spend time with their other parent and extended family members.

7. Seek family or individual therapy

Therapy for yourself, or your family may help to shift uncomfortable dynamics and make the co-parenting experience easier for both you, your ex-spouse and your child.

We offer online and face-to-face therapy for families or individuals experiencing relationship strain, or parenting conflicts. Get in touch with us here.