You are reading Split Parent Family Time During The Holidays!
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Split Parent Families
Split parent families can be healthy and smooth or disruptive and frustrating. There are challenges on a daily basis.
Whether or not the parents have a positive relationship really sets the tone for how smoothly all the transitioning will go.
Parents who don’t get along make co-parenting extremely challenging. I know this because my two older children are from my first marriage.
There are reasons people get divorced. Those reasons don’t just go away because you no longer all live together. So now on top of those same old issues, you also have to figure out a way to communicate with your ex in a way that doesn’t hurt the children.
Not easy let me tell you!
So it makes sense that during the holidays things get a little more crazy than usual.
Now when I talk about the holidays I mean Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year’s.
Both parents want the children to be with them as much as possible during the holidays. No one wants to give up traditions, parties and getting to see family and friends.
But that’s just how life is going to be now so the best thing you can do is accept it for what it is and work on developing your new normal. Which is splitting everything in half.
Split Parent Family Time
Christmas has always been a big deal in my family. I had a really hard time trying to figure out the best way to share my kids with my ex during that time.
In my second marriage we have a daughter, eight years younger than my other daughter. So we still believed in Santa for a lot of years. And that made the older kids want to be with us to watch their little sister loving Christmas.
But still, our two older kids had to go spend time with their dad too on those days.
I’ll tell you what worked for us and maybe that could work for you too.
For Thanksgiving there are usually four days to work with, Thursday through Sunday.
So we split it in half so that one parent had the kids Thursday and Friday and then the other parent had Saturday and Sunday. And we alternated days every other year.
It was worked out with my family that there would be another Thanksgiving on Saturday for the years I had the kiddos on the weekends.
Their father worked out the same thing for his family also.
So the children got to have a Thanksgiving with both of their parents and extended families, giving them two great Thanksgivings every year.
For Christmas we also split it in half and alternated years.
One parent would get the kids Christmas Eve and the kids would spend the night so they could open presents Christmas morning with that parent.
At noon Christmas day the kids would go home to the other parent and spend that night with them there.
As a result, every other year, the kids would be able to get Christmas morning with the parent they didn’t see the year before.
The kids were very content with this plan. And they felt good that everyone was trying so hard to make the holidays great for them!
New Year’s Eve
New Year’s was always every other year.
Which was fine because it meant one year we’d celebrate with all the kids and the next year we would spend it with other adults. Easy peasy!
Which is a lot better for the liver anyway, let’s be honest!
Now we don’t celebrate Hanukkah so I don’t have any experience with dividing that up. But friends of ours do celebrate it and they have their kids three days on and three days off throughout the holiday and that seems to work really well for them.
Parties & Activities
There are also parties and activities that go on during these times.
Often times the best way to handle these situations is just to make sure the kids don’t have to miss out on all that fun stuff.
But you will find that you actually have to communicate with your ex during that time a lot more than when plans are a part of your custody agreement.
Again, accept that this is your new normal
Also remember that if the kids want to go to something with their other parent while it’s your time, that what’s best is to make your child happy.
A good trade off is to just switch days with your ex to cover the extra activities.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that your children deserve to have the best holidays possible. Their family has split up. It’s difficult for them to understand and fully accept no matter how old they are.
My older two children are 20 and 22 and they still feel pulled at during the holidays.
When your children are older they can tell you where they want to go each time, but for now, arrange for them a way where everyone wins.
Because this is your new normal whether you like it or not.
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