Prioritizing the needs of the children is an important practice at any time of the year. But with the holiday stresses and expectations, it’s an important time for parents to remind themselves that the best interests of the kids are of utmost importance. This means finding a balance between clear boundaries and being flexible to minimize arguments, and above all, communicate as well as possible. Here are some of the top tips for Michigan co-parents during the holidays:
Balance parenting time
Some parents get along well enough that they are able to come together for important moments, including some Christmas events. Others find it best to avoid potential conflict by separating activities. Whichever route one takes, it is important to find an arrangement that allows children to make holiday memories with both parents and extended family.
Set guidelines on gifts
Gifts can be a major source of stress during Christmas. What presents should come from Santa versus the parents? Is there an expenditure limit? What is and is not considered age appropriate? There is no perfect science to this; some parents make all parent gifts from both parents, some stick to Santa gifts, and some do gifting completely separately. None of these options are right or wrong, but agreeing to a system and avoiding any attempt to “outdo” the other parent is key.
Leave introducing new significant others for another time
For kids, the holidays are about having fun, making memories with loved ones and creating traditions. This is not the ideal time to introduce a change in their family dynamic. For this reason, introducing a new “special friend” is best left to a different time of year.
The holidays can be a difficult time to manage family plans and boundaries even for those who are not divorced. For co-parents, it is important to have a plan in place in order to work together and communicate as effectively as possible during this time of year. Families who need help establishing or adjusting co-parenting arrangements could benefit from working with an experienced family law attorney to better understand all options and best approaches.