By Amanda Vann, Esq., 301-563-6685
The holidays can be a stressful time of year for most of us. There always seems to be not enough time in the day or money in the bank to get everything we need to do done. All parents find the holidays stressful, and those that are no longer together and co-parenting can find this time of year the most challenging. Here are some tips to help you successfully co-parenting through the holidays and throughout the entire year.
- Communication is key to everyone’s happiness. Learning how to communicate effectively will take time, but it is essential to have a respectful parenting relationship. It is easy to share good things. Still, many parents find it difficult to communicate those touchy subjects, such as a requested schedule change, disciplining issues, or when one parent takes issue with how the other is parenting. Both parents need to learn how to listen and also respond respectfully and cordially. Doing so will only benefit your children as they will see and hear that their parents, although not together, still care for each other and them.
- Remain flexible. You most likely have a court order or custody agreement in place that addresses the custody schedule you are following. And while the order or agreement will detail the typical custody schedule that you follow during the holidays and at all times of the year, it is important to remember to be flexible. Inevitably, one parent will need a change because something comes up with work. During the holidays, there will be a holiday party or gathering that won’t be on your scheduled time. I encourage all parents to remember there will come a time when you need a change in the schedule, and remaining flexible and working out a way to allow those changes will go a long way in your ability to co-parent together in the future successfully. Not allowing for any flexibility not only sours the relationship between the two parents, but you also are hurting your children and setting yourself up for constant battles over the schedule. You also may find yourself in a bind when you need a change to the schedule. Remain flexible, knowing that if you need a change, the possibility is there.
- Heal yourself and learn to redefine your relationship. Going through a separation and divorce is emotionally tolling on everyone. When you have children, you won’t be able to move forward until you find a way to redefine your relationship with your ex. Seek professional counseling to talk through the feelings that you are having. While talking with a good friend is always great, our friends tend to be biased and always side with us to support us. Being able to have the support of a professional therapist can help you work through your emotions while finding your new roles to co-parent successfully.
- Learn to love the time you have away from your children. Many parents find it very difficult to be without their children, and while you most certainly will miss them when they are with your ex, you also should learn the tremendous value there is in having uninterrupted time for yourself! We all need to have time to regroup, and having some time away from your children is a great way to get a parenting break, regroup, and do some things for just you!
Following these tips throughout the year can help you successfully co-parent with your ex, which in the long run will only make your life less stressful, and your children will be able to flourish knowing their parents can work together even when it’s complicated.
About Andalman & Flynn, P.C.: Founded in 1998 in downtown Silver Spring, Maryland, Andalman & Flynn has forged a distinguished reputation for legal excellence. The firm represents individuals seeking disability benefits throughout the country and practices family law throughout Maryland and the District of Columbia. The firm focuses on cases that impact the rights of everyone, and are there for clients when responsive legal help is most critical. The firm has provided legal analysis on national and local television and radio, and their attorneys often testify before legislative bodies and are routinely invited to contribute to prominent legal publications. For more information about Andalman & Flynn, please visit the website at https://andalmanflynn.com/ or call 301.563.6685.