Sharing parenting time over the holidays while balancing the separate needs of multiple families is quite challenging. As a parent, you want to be there for every magical moment of the season and time away from your kids around the holidays may seem even heavier than usual.
In addition, there may be challenges associated with previous traditions like picking out and decorating a tree, or going to see the lights at the zoo. Which parent is going to give that special toy your child really wants? What is the best way to get through this season?
The primary key to sharing parenting time over the holidays is your personal commitment to the best interests of the child. This is also the Court’s position here in California. Remind yourself how important the shared parenting relationship is to your child and their emotional health. Many studies have found (and California courts firmly believe) it is important for a child to have quality time and a strong attachment to each parent whenever possible.
Flexibility and demonstrated respect for each other, especially in front of the child(ren), helps to increase the effectiveness of working through the arrangements of the holidays and finding the best combination of time with each family and seasonal activities. It is quite common to alternate holidays each year to provide for vacation planning and family visits. In other cases, crucial holidays may be split between the parents to allow a child to spend time with each of their parents on special days.
Sharing parenting time over the holidays creates emotional challenges as well as logistical burdens. It can also be an opportunity to strengthen your child’s well being by demonstrating at least a positive working relationship between their parents.
If you are struggling with scheduling or shared parenting schedules mediation may be an effective tool. Mediation provides a safe environment and the tools to craft good solutions based upon the unique rhythms of your child’s life. Many co-parents draw strength from serving the best interests of their children during the holidays.