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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Cooperative Coparenting Strategies for the Holidays

The holidays are a time for sharing and caring, giving and receiving, feeling and expressing gratitude and love. It's a time for making lists that detail our priorities in our closest human relationships. And for those who are parenting 2-home children, it's a time to do all of these wonderful activities in the context of what may be a challenging coparenting relationship.

So here are some strategies to keep in mind to create peaceful and loving holidays for 2-home children and their Moms and Dads:

1 Remember that children don't care which day the celebration occurs as long as it's close enough for all their loved ones to participate!

2 Compromise is definitely in the spirit of the season...winning and losing are not useful ways of making decisions about holidays - really an incompatible approach!

3 A family is a circle of people who love you. Our 2-home children are lucky to have not 1 but 2 circles of such people!

4 Say yes to sharing time with your child with extended family and friends. Love is synergistic, the more you give the more you receive.

5 The best gift is our time and unconditional love, not stuff!

6 If you need to ask for a schedule change let your coparent have first choice on the make-up time/alternative schedule!

7 Keep your communication cordial and business like at a minimum! Kind and respectful is even better, especially if you can add just a bit of GENUINE warmth :-)

8 Offer to help and support your child in making or buying a gift for their mom or dad, and include step-mom/step-dad if appropriate. Set a budget and create clear opportunities to make it happen!

9 Honor the old traditions and create new ones!

10 Love all of who your child is by respecting your coparent whether your child is present or not!

If we try to respond instead of reacting we are more likely to enjoy the holidays. Emotions run high for everyone this time of year so take a deep breath and think it through before you speak, text, email, tweet, or post an update!!

Have a wonderful holiday season.

Susan Griffin, MS
Executive Director
Hannah's House San Diego
Parenting Help