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How do I navigate the holidays as a co-parent?

The holidays are a wonderful time of year, no matter what kind of religious tradition you come from. However, many of us have a skewed view of what the holidays should look like, and that view often involves a traditional nuclear family that includes two parents and however many children huddled around a fire sharing the blessings and closeness of the winter months together.

This may not be the case if you're in a family that was divided by divorce. Parents who are sharing their children, for example, may have to come up with unique ways to get to see and spend time with their children. Whether you choose to spend half of the holiday with the children while your space gets them the other half, or whether you choose the every other holiday route, your holidays might not fit into the mold of what they're "supposed to be." But that doesn't mean you can't enjoy them.

Single parents can support their children and the rest of their family to enjoy the holidays in spite of a divorce. For example, talking out in the open with children about their feelings is a great way to start. Ask children how they would prefer to spend the holidays with you and your ex-spouse, and be sure to boost their confidence by saying that you are going to do everything you can to make the best of the new situation.

Get prepared by making a plan with your children and your ex-spouse. However, it's also good to agree to stay flexible and remember to listen to your children's input. Ask your kids what else they might want to do. If children suddenly want to do something else on a particular holiday, if it makes their day better and it also honor's your ex-spouse's need for a good holiday, don't just dismiss it because it wasn't part of the plan.

For Nebraska parents who are currently in the process of getting a divorce during the holidays, remember that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and you're doing this for the best interest of you and your children. Also, if you have any questions about how you can make the divorce process easier, consider asking your family law attorney for advice. Your lawyer has guided many families through the divorce process and will be an excellent resource for valuable information.

Source: First Things First, "Co-Parenting and the Holidays," accessed Dec. 09, 2016

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