It’s hard to believe we’re approaching the fall and winter holiday season. While this year’s holidays will likely be somewhat different than they have been in the past — for families of divorce, this time of year often presents challenges. Robin Perrigo-Mermans offers her own unique perspective on overcoming those challenges through cooperation and collaboration.
The Five Cs of Co-Parenting During the Holidays
As a collaborative divorce attorney and licensed mediator, I have a professional perspective on how to balance co-parenting during the holidays. As a divorcee, wife, mother, and stepmother, I have a personal perspective on it too. I know how difficult it can be to not only create a shared parenting agreement that works for everyone, but doing it with a positive outlook while your children are away from you during the holiday season.
Communication is everything in a shared parenting relationship. Despite your personal feelings, you need to be able to discuss what is best for your children. For some, it helps to think of a parenting partner as a professional business partner. Your conversations should be respectful, clear, and honest.
While you may not have a relationship with your parenting partner, your children do. Support one another and be mindful of how the other may feel. Maybe that means making sure your children are able to pick out and purchase a Christmas gift for their other parent. It could also mean helping them make or bake a dish to take to Thanksgiving dinner with their other family.
There may be situations where you and your parenting partner need to compromise. From a disagreement over Thanksgiving travel plans to who is purchasing something your child wants for Christmas. When in doubt, resort back to your parenting agreement. If necessary, bring in a neutral third party to guide you to a mutually beneficial compromise.
Have confidence in your parenting partner. Trust their parenting decisions and choose your battles wisely. While you may disagree with minor things like the Thanksgiving dinner menu or how much time is spent on electronics on Christmas Day, as long as they’re safe, loved, and well taken care of, don’t battle over the little things.
Consistency is key when it comes to co-parenting. Children need stability in their lives and ensuring that they have a good relationship with both parents is part of this. Your children will be healthier and happier if they have a reliable and consistent shared parenting experience.
Robin Perrigo-Mermans is a collaborative attorney and certified mediator. She owns ROAD to RESOLUTION, a divorce mediation and collaborative family law firm, in Charlotte. Due to her unique perspective as an attorney, mother, and stepmother, she is an expert in shared parenting solutions and co-parenting guidance. She is committed to using her personal story and passion to help her clients save time and money, while avoiding unnecessary emotional turmoil during their divorce journey and on their road to resolution.