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Birmingham Divorce Lawyer > Blog > Child Custody > How To Reduce Co-Parenting Stress During The Holidays

How To Reduce Co-Parenting Stress During The Holidays


Married folks start panicking about the holidays once the pumpkin pie ingredients appear on the first display you see when you enter the supermarket; cooking a holiday dinner for your in-laws and whoever they decide to invite at the last minute is enough to scare those with even the mildest case of commitment phobia away from marriage.  Perennially single people get the Christmas blues on Black Friday, when all the stores, restaurants, and radio stations change their playlists to an endless barrage of schmaltzy carols about snuggling up to your beloved in a sleigh and kissing under the mistletoe.  Divorced parents, on the other hand, become filled with dread as soon as their kids walk into the house with a trick-or-treat bucket full of candy, because the co-parenting holiday drama is about to set in, and it is not going away until January.  Holidays are the hardest part of co-parenting, but planning and emotional maturity are the best defenses against it.  A Birmingham child custody lawyer can help you with the former.

Work Out the Holiday Scheduling Details of Your Parenting Plan While the Summer Sun Is Blazing

As painful as it is, it is important to work out all the details of parenting time and transportation, including holiday schedules, before you ask the judge to sign off on your parenting plan and finalize your divorce.  Your parenting plan form contains questions about each school break, including winter break, spring break, and summer vacation.  The worst thing you can say about short vacations, is to say, “We’ll work it out on a case-by-case basis.”  The result will be drama every month and resentment all year.  It’s much better to say that, in every odd-numbered year, your ex will meet your mother in the parking lot of Walmart at 4:00 p.m. on Black Friday so that your mother can drive the children to her house for your side of the family’s annual feast of leftover turkey, and in every odd-numbered year, the children will eat holiday dinner with your family, and then you will drive the children to your ex’s house at 10:00 in the morning on Black Friday.  Spontaneity is the enemy of successful co-parenting.

Let Go of Your Expectations and Focus on Gratitude

You can’t afford to sweat the small stuff, or else it will sap everyone’s holiday cheer.  Your ex spent more money on holiday gifts than you agreed on?  Let it go.  Your former mother-in-law’s gifts promote unhealthy body image?  Let it go.  Sitting on the couch at your parents’ house, watching Elf, and eating turkey sandwiches on Black Friday is priceless.

Let Off Some Steam While Your Children Are With Your Ex

The time you miss your children the most is when they are celebrating the holidays with your ex, but take the time to rest or have some fun until they come back.  Lie in bed and play Candy Crush or some other un-seasonal game on your phone and enjoy not having to put on a display of holiday cheer, or hang out with your foul-mouthed friends and kvetch about how much your ex annoys you.

Contact Peeples Law About Getting Through the Holidays

A Birmingham family law attorney can help you work out the details of holiday parenting time so that your holidays are bittersweet instead of a firestorm of drama.  Contact Peeples Law today to schedule a consultation.



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