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Co-parenting is already challenging enough without holiday stress

If you have children, the holidays are probably a busy time of year. Holiday parties, pageants and other activities keep you and the other parent hopping. The whirlwind of activity probably begins the moment you start planning your Thanksgiving meal.

All of this could provide a great deal of stress for any family, but you and your ex-spouse may still be working on a way to co-parent amicably and sometimes struggle to keep this relationship intact. This means extra stress for you and the other parent as you try to work through it all while providing the kids with a joyous and fun holiday season.

Getting along under pressure

Because this season is particularly busy, it can be easy to get frustrated and anxious. Moreover, the holidays could still cause an emotional response in one or both you, especially if the divorce wasn't that long ago. Getting through this time of year will require some teamwork, sacrifices and compromise. The tips below may help keep the holiday season merry and bright:

  • Extend the hand of friendship. Send that picture of the kids with Santa to your ex, and perhaps, invite him or her over to help decorate the tree if that was something the whole family made an effort to do during the marriage.
  • Your kids need to see you getting along. You don't have to make them think you are getting back together, but letting them know you will put aside your differences for their happiness goes a long way.
  • Choose events with a new partner wisely. Parent/teacher conferences may not be the place for a new partner, but the school holiday pageant is -- just be sure to let your ex know as a courtesy.
  • The willingness to compromise could make all the difference. If your ex's parents are only going to be in town on a weekend that should be yours, you may want to make an exception and trade weekends.

You may want to sit down with the other parent as soon as possible before the holidays begin to check in with each other regarding the schedule you put in place in your parenting plan. You could discuss any potential conflicts and figure out what you will do if one arises. This may also be a good time to get any school activities on the schedule as well.

Unexpected events tend to cause tension, but with preparation and an understanding to work together, the holiday season doesn't have to cause as much stress as you think it might.

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