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Parenting Time and the Holidays

Child Custody, Parenting Time, and the Holidays

The holidays are usually a great time for children.  However there is one sure way to spoil a child’s experience.  When both parents are fighting, being petty over little things, and putting their wants first, the child will often lose.  This is true in general, but can be especially painful during what should otherwise be a joyous and happy time for the child.

The Parenting Time Trap

Holidays can often be a special time.  Along these lines, parents may place great importance on this time, and rightfully so.  However, because of this importance it’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that this is the time to dig in one’s heels and “assert my parenting rights”.

I’m not suggesting any parent should roll over to unreasonable demands to the other.  Nor should any parent facilitate contact that would put their children in danger.  With this in mind, here are some suggestions to make the holiday experience as best as it can possibly be when there are parenting time issues.

Ten Ideas for Holiday Parenting Time

  1. The best interests of the children should come first … always
  2. Holidays can be a great time to build the relationship between parent and child.  This goes for both parents
  3. Court-ordered parenting time schedules, which should include holiday provisions, are still the rule …
  4. … But flexibility can also go a long way towards building goodwill with the other parent and making it a better holiday time for your children
  5. Along those lines, building in some holiday time for each parent with the child is often the best strategy
  6. Understand that the other parent’s holiday decisions are sometimes based on family decisions, not just his or her own.  Sometimes he or she may not be able to control a schedule conflict
  7. Usually, each parent places the same amount of value and importance of spending holiday time with their children
  8. Usually the children, especially younger ones, place the same amount of value and importance of spending holiday time with each parent
  9. One side is not “losing” if they generously offer flexibility to accommodate what’s best for their children
  10. Lastly, if any disputes over these issues go to court, a judge is generally going to be very underwhelmed with the party behaving unreasonably and disregarding the interests of his or her children.  This may be especially true for behavior during the holidays.

Happy Holidays to everyone.  I hope no one has to deal with bad custody situations during this time.