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The Most Wonderful Time of the Year?

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The Most Wonderful Time of the Year?

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year by Melissa Burns

{3:30 minutes to read} In mediation, parents who are ending a relationship with each other come up with a plan for how they would like to continue raising their children. Mediators encourage parents to create parenting plans that honor their values and goals.

The resulting agreement is usually one in which parents have had to compromise, so each is able to spend time with the children. But this arrangement also results in one parent not being with their children at times.

Shared parenting can be especially difficult during the holidays. Many times, it is emotional for parents, as they may be spending a holiday apart from their children for the first time. Even when parents have been living apart for several years, this time of year can be difficult.

With the holiday season right around the corner, here are some suggestions to help families who are adjusting to a new holiday arrangement:

  • Create new traditions.

You can build new traditions with your children that will acknowledge the difference in this year’s celebration and also make it special to your new situation. Some of these traditions may be similar to those you already havepicking out gifts for relatives or decorating your home in a certain way. But others could be new and unique. Make them your own, so that holiday time with your children retains the excitement, fun, and magic that you all anticipate.

  • Stay busy.

When the children are spending time away from you, keep busy. Spend time with family and friends, immerse yourself in a project or go to the movies. Participate in activities you enjoy but that are challenging when you have the children.

  • Honor your agreement.

Difficult as it may be, try to remember that this is likely very hard for your ex, too. He or she also misses the children and is eager to spend holiday time with them. Arriving late for a drop-off or trying to change the plans at the last minute has the potential to make a difficult situation worse.

The holidays can be stressful, and for families who are adjusting to living separately, the stress can sometimes feel overwhelming. Although the holidays can be difficult, they can still be a positive experience for both you and your children. Mediation is a way for parents to create a plan that allows them to move forward separately while respecting the traditions that their children enjoy.  

What helped you adjust to a shared holiday parenting plan?

Melissa Burns

16 Pearl St., Suite 201
Glens Falls, NY 12801
Phone: (518) 529-5200

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