Here are our top ten tips to consider when co-parenting over the holiday period…
- Reassure your children, using age-appropriate language, that both parents will agree how best to organise shared time over the holidays. Do not have discussion about the other parent with children present.
- Avoid making demands or raising your voice. Agree a time to meet for these discussions or to have a telephone conversation. Avoid using text or e-mail, as can be open to misinterpretation.
- Try putting yourself in the other parent’s position, in your child’s position, or other grandparents’ position……how would you feel?
- Do not react to demands from other parent on impulse, try to dial down potential for conflict. Maintain the focus on the child’s current and future needs, avoid looking to the past.
- Stay in the here and now, be kind to yourself and your children. Parental relationship breakdown is tough, do consider the future, remember, you will both always be parents and responsible for the well-being of the children, they love and need both of you.
- As you begin your journey of parenting apart, try and keep all conversations focusing on the needs of your children as they grow. Learn to be flexible as the child’s interests/needs change as they grow and therefore the days/times of moving between homes may change.
- To help reduce disagreements, consider agreeing to complete a family calendar, many templates available on-line. Considering the work rota’s, the school breaks, the needs of individual children, the link to wider family and grandparents.
- Be realistic around the details to ensure smooth movement between two homes. Agree times/dates/locations in advance and have a plan B in case of travel disruption or illness. Agree in advance the mode of communication in emergency.
- Discuss usefulness of remote contact for older children, agree times and stick to them for ‘facetime’ or ‘Zoom’, when away from you. Also consider having two ‘Christmas celebrations.’
- Communication is key to a positive experience for your children post separation. It will be a life lesson for your children also as they become aware that their parents managed the separation and worked to find solutions with their need’s paramount (they will thank you later).
If you feel you would benefit from working with an impartial mediator, please contact FMNI. Engaging with the process of family mediation can breach the impasse, if both parents are solution focused and have the capacity to negotiate with their children at the heart of all discussions.