Resolve Co-Parenting Issues During the Holidays

The holidays should be when we all relax, spend some time with our loved ones, and enjoy the festivities. Yet things don’t always turn out that way — the unfortunate reality is that many people face less-than-ideal family situations, including having to navigate co-parenting. If you’re struggling to resolve co-parenting issues during the holidays, know that you’re not alone.

Also, know there are ways to get through the situation smoothly — we’ve listed three of the best below.

Be Prepared to Compromise

It’s the holiday season — chances are that both parents will want to spend time with their child(ren) on Christmas Day itself and other significant days. But since they can’t be in two places at once, compromise is inevitable.

When you’re talking about navigating this situation with your ex-partner, go into the discussion with an open mind and be prepared to compromise. Avoid veering the conversation toward who “deserves” to spend time with a child most, and take a generous approach instead. Could you alternate who the child spends time with each year? Arrange for them to spend New Year’s at one household and Christmas Day on the other?

Avoid Triggers

Throughout the time you’ve spent establishing a relationship with someone and then co-parenting with them, you’ve probably had plenty of time to identify and learn about their triggers. If not, it’s time to start taking note of what sets them off during arguments. Psychology and personality are very important in negotiation.

Then, use them to your advantage — not by pressing their buttons but by avoiding them to encourage smooth communication. This doesn’t mean that you have to agree with everything they say and do things their way; it’s just about remembering your ex-partner is also a human with human reactions.

For example, you might notice that they don’t like you mentioning “last holidays” or tend to be less willing to compromise if you bring up the fact that you have a new partner and blended family now.

Go Through Mediation

The ideas we’ve outlined above are great starting points for broaching the subject of co-parenting during the holidays. But ultimately, you’re not a trained professional, so you might run into difficulties and roadblocks — especially if your ex-partner isn’t as accommodating as you are.

In that case, you might want to consider going through mediation. This is a confidential legal process during which you’ll work with a trained professional to reach a mutually beneficial resolution. The aim of mediation is a compromise that will leave all parties involved happy, so you don’t need to worry about spending your holidays alone for being painted as “the bad guy.”

Do What It Takes to Have a Happy Holidays

Whatever way you decide to tackle your co-parenting problems, we wish you the best of luck. Everyone deserves to have a peaceful holiday time full of joy, and complex familial relationships shouldn’t get in the way of that.

If you’d like to maximize your chances of success by working with an understanding mediator, reach out to Donita King. She’s a lawyer-mediator with significant experience working with separated couples and families and has helped countless clients reach happy resolutions. To find out more about her mediation services, contact her law offices today.

Donita King

Ms. King is a member of the Virginia, Pennsylvania, and D.C. State Bars. She also serves as a University of Richmond School of Law Adjunct Professor of Mediation. She previously served on the Virginia Bar Association Joint ADR Council (2015 Chair), and served for several years on the Governor of Virginia’s Interagency Dispute Resolution Council. Ms. King currently serves as a board member of the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board by appointment of the Virginia Supreme Court and has been active with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Hispanic Women in Business as well. Se habla espanol.

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