When you’re a parent, the number one thing you want out of the holiday season is for your children to be happy. Making the most of the holidays isn’t easy, however, when you and your ex-spouse are in conflict.
How do you prevent a fight with your ex over everything?
The holidays are an emotional time, so it’s important to plan for problems in advance. Here are some suggestions that can help:
- Ask to meet with your ex. See if your ex is willing to sit down with you at a coffee shop or some other neutral setting. Let them know you just want to make some holiday plans with the kids in mind so that everyone is happy.
- Be open to negotiations. You can’t get anything without being willing to give a little. Don’t walk in with a list of rules or demands. Approach the situation as if this were a collaboration centered wholly on what works best for the kids.
- Talk about gift-giving. Some of the biggest holiday conflicts between ex-spouses involve this issue. You may have a budget, but your ex is a “free spender” who wants to shower the kids with pricey gifts. See if you can agree on limits and consider chipping in together on big purchases.
- Don’t be a “Scrooge” about gifts or visitation. Finally, make a pact with your ex (if possible): Neither of you will try to keep the kids from taking gifts from one house to the other, nor will either of you make the kids feel guilty about their time with the other parent.
What happens if your ex-spouse is unreasonable?
Sometimes conflicts with an ex will bubble over during this time. If your co-parent is suddenly refusing to observe the parenting plan, won’t negotiate with you at all about gifts or visitation and is otherwise hostile, it may be time to seek a modification of your parenting plan in court.