Keeping track of child visitation pick-ups and drop-offs with your ex or soon-to-be-ex spouse can be a challenge any time of year. However, when the winter holiday season arrives, with all its festivities, parties, and family celebrations, keeping the peace can become extra stressful and difficult. Here are a few tips on how you might try to reduce potentially tense situations and strategies for keeping the peace with your ex during the holidays.
Keeping the Peace Tip 1: Always Put Your Kids First
Whatever anger, resentment or hurt feelings you may be feeling toward your ex, consider how derogatory remarks or bickering with them will impact your children. While it’s never a good idea to fight with your ex in front of your children, especially during the holidays, kids will know if you’re angry, stressed or harboring ill feelings. During this time, make a conscious effort to be a good role model for your children, and that intention may help to keep you on the right track. Focus on making the holidays as great as they can be for you and your kids during the time you have together.
Keeping the Peace Tip 2: Communication is Key
Even if having a conversation with your ex is that last thing you want to do, during the holidays it’s important to communicate about logistics and expectations. In addition to communicating in-person or over the phone, it’s also a good idea to follow up with an email – just to make sure you both have a clear understanding. Here are just a few of the holiday topics you may want to discuss with your ex:
- Any changes in child visitation drop-off and pick-up times or locations
- Planning for visits your children may want to have with extended family members (grandparents, cousins…) and friends.
- If children will be traveling away for part of the holiday, determining what clothes and other items they will need to pack. Will “dressy” or more formal attire be needed for a holiday dinner, or will casual clothes suffice?
- Determining monetary limits for gifts so one parent does not try to “out do” the other. It’s also worth having a discussion about gift items your children may want but that you feel are not appropriate (ex. certain video games, technology devices or clothing) so that you and your ex can be on the same page and not undermine the other’s authority.
- And don’t forget to let the kids know who they will be spending time with over the holidays and when, as well as where, they will be going and what’s expected of them.
Keeping the Peace Tip 3: Address Negative Feelings
Being upset and stressed at any time of the year is draining, and it’s even more debilitating over the holidays. If you’re feeling angry and frustrated with your ex, find a way to channel that negative energy into something positive – this can be anything from spending extra time at the gym, to volunteering for a local charity to indulging in your favorite pass-time. Whatever you decide to do, approach it with a positive outlook and you’ll notice your spirits improve!
Keeping the Peace Tip 4: Stay Flexible
Remember, chances are, the holidays are also challenging for your ex. If they need to make some changes in their regular schedule, try to be open to it and flexible. This can especially be true for parents working in professions that may require putting in extra hours or being “on call” over the holiday. Trying to be generous and understanding when your ex is running late or a holiday party begins earlier than expected will show your children that you know the true meaning of the holidays and what they stand for. The changes might be annoying, but try to let it go! It’s not worth getting upset and creating negative memories for everyone involved.
Keeping the Peace Tip 5: Have a Support System
Whether it’s scheduling a few extra visits with a trusted therapist, nearby family member, spiritual advisor, or your best friend, having a support system in place provides you with an appropriate outlet for venting your frustrations and concerns – and a source for advice and strategies for coping.
Keeping the Peace Tip 6: Nothing lasts forever!
When you hit emotional “bumps” over the course of the holidays, just remember that the New Year is right around the corner and soon you’ll be back to a regular routine. Looking ahead and planning for the future can help when you’re feeling disappointed or angry with your ex.
Dealing with divorce is challenging at any time of the year, but especially so over the holidays. Remember that fighting with your ex during this time will only cause more anger and hurt feelings. Try your best to take the steps you need to cultivate a sense of peace and goodwill. You deserve to feel the best you can over the holidays, and with a little extra attention and care, you and your children will.
Contact Laura Monty Law
If you or your spouse will be filing for divorce in Northern Colorado or reside in the Larimer County or Fort Collins region, and are looking for a Fort Collins divorce attorney, do not hesitate to contact Laura Monty Law. We provide collaborative divorce representation, divorce mediation services, legal advising for uncontested divorces and contested divorces, and a full array of divorce and family law services to meet your family’s needs in Fort Collins and the surrounding areas. We strongly believe in taking a compassionate approach to family law, and recognize that every situation is unique.