When you have children together, a divorce doesn't entirely free you and your ex-spouse to go your separate ways. You still have to work together from time to time for the sake of the children, especially during the holidays.
What can you do to ease anxiety issues and help your children thrive this holiday season?
- Review your parenting plan: Make sure you understand what it says about the holiday season, so you don't make any mistakes about who has time with the kids at what point in the season.
- Negotiate early for any changes you want: The sooner you approach your ex-spouse about a change in plans, the more receptive he or she is likely to be. You can't expect your ex-spouse to be overly-accommodating about last-minute requests.
- Be as co-operative as possible with your ex-spouse: If your ex wants the kids a few extra hours so they can see a grandparent or favorite aunt, let it happen. Even if you aren't asking for a return favor right now, your time will come.
- Keep any resentments to yourself: If you aren't happy with your share of the parenting time this season or the agreements you've made, that's okay -- but don't let the kids know. They should remain under the happy illusion that everything is fine with you, so they don't feel guilty when they aren't with you.
- Make room for phone calls or Skype: If your kids want to hop on Skype and show their other parent the toys Santa brought them, let them do it! Rejoice in their excitement and the knowledge that you're doing everything right.
If you and your ex-spouse can't seem to agree on anything, the custody schedule from the court is a good fallback plan. While it may not be ideal, it will eliminate the need to argue -- and that will provide its own benefit.
If you absolutely need to bring up an issue with your child's visitation schedule or ask for custody modifications, do it as early as possible. Family courts are typically clogged around the holiday season.