Surviving the Holidays as a Co-Parent

The holiday season is nearly in full swing. For Maryland families with child custody agreements, that can lead to a lot of headaches. The key to co-parenting during the “holiday shuffle” is flexibility, according to experts. As your Thanksgiving celebrations kick off, consider revisiting your perspective about your holiday traditions. Your family might just be thankful for a more relaxed holiday season.

To survive the holiday madness, consider shifting the celebration of specific holidays to different dates. Although Thanksgiving traditionally falls on the fourth Thursday of November, you can celebrate it at any time. If your custody arrangement does not allow you to have custody of the kids on an actual date, just approximate! Your kids are less likely to be bothered by a date change than by the fact that their parents are fighting over having custody at a specific time.

Also, consider the radical idea that you might want to celebrate family holidays with your ex-spouse. Married or not, you are still both parents to your kids. Why not sweep some of your differences under the rug for an evening to allow your children to be the center of your holiday celebrations? You could create a series of new traditions – perhaps from a past time or culture – that would make each holiday feel new and special under the child custody arrangements.

During the holidays, parents need to be sure to prepare themselves emotionally for some of the loneliness that may sink in when their kids are gone. Still, you can enjoy some delightful alone time, or schedule special activities with friends that do not involve your children.

Holidays when co-parenting are all about being practical. Learn to be flexible and accommodating, and your charitable spirit is sure to shine! The holidays should be a time of love and caring. You can achieve that environment by adopting a flexible attitude toward your child custody arrangements.

Source:, “Surviving the Co-Parenting “Holiday Shuffle”” Michelle Crosby, Nov. 18, 2013