Co-parenting involves working together for the sake of your children. While you and your co-parent might generally have a harmonious co-parenting relationship, the holiday season can bring unanticipated stress and challenges.
The following are some helpful tips for co-parenting over the holidays. First, remember that your goal should be making happy memories for your children. You likely want your children to grow up and have fond memories of holidays, rather than memories of their parents fighting.
Next, if you have a holiday custody schedule set through the Maryland courts, follow it, but be flexible when necessary. Maryland courts make custody decisions based on the best interests of the child.
Common holiday custody schedules
When it comes to holidays, this typically means sharing holiday time equally. You can do this by allowing each parent to have a full holiday and alternating years or splitting the time between the two of you on holidays.
Courts deviate from this equal schedule only in extreme circumstances, such as if there is evidence of abuse or neglect by one parent. One parent not being available on a holiday might also justify giving the entire holiday to the other parent.
However, unexpected events sometimes occur. Everyone is out of routine during the holidays, family members might be visiting or someone may get sick. Accept that you might have to change plans and adapt to new ones depending on what happens.
Take care of your physical and mental health
Finally, if you are still adjusting to being divorced or separated during the holidays, understand that your traditional plans may have to change. Follow your new holiday schedule, take care of yourself and your children and do not try to take on more than you can handle.
Feelings of sadness or loneliness are common but find healthy ways to manage them. Do not lash out at your co-parent or demand more time with the children. Be open to developing new traditions and trying new things.
The holidays are a busy time for everyone. Focus on the positives in your life and consider what you can do to make the season a happy time for your children.