With the holiday season now underway, parents across Texas have begun planning a warm and cheery time for their children — a time to make happy memories that kids can reflect upon for years to come. That said, the holidays can also be stressful, perhaps especially if you and your co-parent are divorced or separated.
At the Vaught Law Firm, we understand the time-sharing challenges parents face during the holidays, and we’d like to discuss some child-centered tips for reducing your stress and ensuring that your kids have a warm and merry experience.
1. First of all, communication is the key
Your child custody agreement probably specifies holiday parenting-time arrangements, but it’s still a good idea to go over the plan with your co-parent to make certain there are no unwanted surprises.
If you know your holiday plans for the kids are going to be different this year, then it’s better to explain the situation to your co-parent well in advance rather than disclose the new plan at the last minute. Not communicating the new itinerary could result in parental conflict that negatively affects the kids.
You can also try to communicate with your co-parent about presents for the children. Some parents choose to split the list of gifts. By doing so, you can establish expectations while minimizing the monetary cost to you and your co-parent.
2. Don’t underestimate the importance of cooperation and flexibility
If your co-parent wants to deviate from the normal parenting schedule this year, then remember to take the child-centered approach and consider allowing the change. This can not only minimize conflict; your co-parent may be more likely to acquiesce in the event that you want to vary the schedule in the future.
It goes without saying, though: any variation from the parenting schedule should be done within reason.
3. If you find yourself in conflict with your co-parent, then avoid speaking ill of him or her in front of the kids
The holidays are always memorable for children, and we want their memories of this time of year to be warm and special. Involving a child in a parental conflict sends the opposite message. If you and your co-parent disagree over holiday parenting time, then you may be justifiably upset, but speaking ill of a co-parent in front of the kids will only make matters worse.
If the dispute raises legal questions, then explain the situation to a family law attorney. In some cases, a modification of the child custody arrangement may be in order.
In closing, we at the Vaught Law Firm would like to wish you and yours a happy and peaceful holiday season.