The holidays are stressful for parents who share child custody – particularly this year, as families also must work around school restrictions, adjusted work schedules and other upsetting situations.
If this sounds like what you expect to experience in the coming weeks, consider the following ways you can prevent and resolve custody-related disputes.
Prioritize effective communication
Many of the arguments that arise for parents this time of year stem from poor communication. One parent might neglect to tell the other about a change in schedule or get angry about something the other did. Suddenly, a minor incident can spiral into a bitter argument.
Thus, parents should be especially mindful of discussing child-related matters early and respectfully this time of year. For instance, you can put your blueprint for the holidays in writing and work out details like holiday gift-giving before they become a cause for concern.
Be flexible (within reason)
Countless unexpected scenarios can arise this holiday season, from school shutdowns to the hospitalization of a parent. Therefore, it can be helpful for parents to try to be flexible for their child’s sake.
Rather than get angry at the other person because of circumstances outside their control, focus on what you can do to help your child through it. If your ex is late or needs to change pickup times, make the adjustments, and don’t lash out at your ex in front of your child.
As long as the changes are reasonable, infrequent and do not threaten the well-being of your child, flexibility can be warranted.
Focus on what you can control
We cannot change the fact that we are in the throes of a pandemic or that the holidays can be difficult for newly-divorced parents and their children. However, we can control things like how we respond.
During this time, you might start new traditions with your child or explore a new project or hobby as a distraction and form of stress-relief. You can also take care of yourself and your child by practicing self-care and healthy living habits.