The holidays are an exceptionally difficult time for most alienated parents. Whether there is a partial cutoff or full cutoff, the Chosen Parent faces difficulty in how to show up for their child during the holiday season, given there is a cutoff. And whether you like it or not, they are fast-approaching. Here is a how-to guide for the upcoming holiday season.
1. Establish a Plan Ahead of Time
If you aren't sure how your parenting time will go or if it will be followed or not, establish that early on. Don't wait til the week of the holiday you celebrate to sort that out-- leave the conflict for after the holidays. If you cannot come to an agreement, lead the way by mapping out a plan that benefits you both, and make it seem like it benefits your co-parent more if they are giving you trouble..
2. Be Open, Flexible, and Willing to Compromise
Be willing to compromise when conflicts arise. Sometimes, it's more important to maintain peace and harmony than to stick rigidly to the original plan. Flexibility can prevent disputes and create a more positive co-parenting environment, especially to have as little conflict as possible so your children can enjoy the joyous season.
3. Be Unconditionally Loving
The spirit of the holidays are all about unconditional love. Gift giving, card-writing, wrapping, baking, are all things we do for those we love and care for. Take advantage of what the season means, and make sure you are showing your child you love them unconditionally. Send a seasonal gift/care package, send holiday activity ideas to do that made you think of them, and leave the past in the past.
4. Embrace the Festivities
With so many seasonal activities for the winter season and holidays, there are a variety of ways you can spend your time either with or without your child. If you have any parenting time at all, make use of it with planning fun seasonal things to do with the kids. If you are not exercising parenting time, do these fun activities on your own or with friends, other family, etc.
5. Reflect on the Upcoming New Year
Didn't like how this year went? Was there too much conflict? Too few positive changes? Instead of New Year's resolutions, try end-of-year resolutions. Journal what changes you want to make in the upcoming new year, reflecting on what you are experiencing in the present moment and wish to change.