Parents divorce; children don’t divorce their parents. When it comes to holidays, co-parenting goes beyond keeping to the holiday schedule.
Children rely on parents for help. Holidays are no different. Cooperative co-parents help children enjoy and participate in the holiday as much as possible – even when with the other co-parent.
Provide opportunities for your children to make or purchase holiday cards and/or gifts for the other parent. Not only for holidays, but also for birthdays and other important milestones, such as weddings, graduations, births, and so forth. Consider, as well, helping for step-parents, step- or half-siblings, grandparents, and extended family. When cost is a concern, be creative – “coupons” for activities like playing a game, doing chores, and the like.
Go beyond the custody order’s or parenting plan’s terms for telephone, video, or text with the other parent on holidays and other special occasions. By the same token, the away parent should be mindful of boundaries and not intruding on the children’s holiday. Let the children be children, share the excitement of the day, and don’t compare what the away parent has to offer or how much the away parents misses the children.
Cooperative co-parents can agree to deviate from the schedule and do what is right and necessary to make holidays manageable for the children. This is the ideal of organic co-parenting, resembling parenting in intact relationships. For example, this may arise with respect to transition locations and times, to make holidays more manageable for the children.
Think about talking with the other parent to coordinate gifts for the children, avoid duplication, and resist out-buying one another. This is only possible in the most cooperative of co-parenting relationships.
In conclusion, children can only be in one place at a time. Help them enjoy their time with both parents equally. Despite separation, holidays are an opportunity for co-parents to model positive parenting for their children, which children will appreciate for a lifetime.
Since 2002, Lindsay Parvis has represented clients in Maryland custody, divorce, and marital matters. She negotiates, litigates, and advocates for the best interests of her clients, whether in contested litigation, uncontested settlement, or premarital and other agreements. Her clients are not only spouses and parents, but also children whose interests she is appointed by the court to represent in contested custody litigation. She is a graduate of Mount Holyoke and University of Baltimore School of Law. Lindsay strives to improve Maryland law in the General Assembly, volunteering her time to monitor, advocate, and educate about legislative developments in family law. You can follow her on Linked In, Facebook, LindsayParvis.com, and subscribe to her Newsletter for discussion, news, and developments in Maryland family law.