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Tips To Help Co-Parents Survive The Holidays Without Conflict

Dads’ Resource Center offers a look at how co-parenting through the holidays can be peaceful


According to the Pew Research Center, the U.S. has the world’s highest rate of children living in single-parent households. With nearly a quarter of all children in the country living with one parent, it’s three times the number of children worldwide. Although the statistics are high, it’s essential to recognize how crucial it is to still have both parents involved in a child’s life. Although the holidays can be a chaotic time for co-parenting families, the good news is that with a bit of planning, it can be a peaceful and enjoyable time for all.


“For separated families the best gift mom and dad can give their children is to work together in a pleasant and reasonable manner,” said Dads’ Resource Center Executive Director Jeffrey Steiner. “What they want more than anything in the world is for their parents to get along and make sure everyone has a happy and relaxed holiday season.”


Co-parents who don’t take the time to plan for a peaceful holiday season may find it filled with chaos and arguing. They may end up disagreeing over who will have the child and when what holiday events will be attended with the child and stress about gift-giving ideas. To help avoid this, it’s essential to think it through ahead of time and make a game plan.


Here are tips to help co-parents survive the holidays without conflict:


  • Make a plan. It’s essential to keep the parenting plan in mind, so there are no legal issues that arise, but during the holidays, co-parents should discuss the best way to handle everything. The holiday plan should include who will have the child and when, what events will be attended, and even discuss gifts so there are no overlapping or problems that will arise later. Creating a schedule everyone agrees upon from the start will save a lot of headaches and arguments later on.
  • Be flexible. Sometimes things arise that may not have been a part of the parenting plan, but a parent may feel the child must attend. Although there is a parenting plan in place, it’s essential to be flexible and patient during the holidays.
  • Choose kindness. It is vital to choose kindness when disagreeing about how the holidays will happen. This will set an excellent example for the child on how to respond even when things may not go their way.
  • Keep perspective. Remember that the child should be the focus. By keeping what is best for the child in mind, there should be less disagreement. Communication is important during this time to ensure there will be a peaceful season. While co-parents must communicate, it’s also a good idea to have open communication with the child, so they know what to expect and can also share their thoughts on what they would like to do during the holiday season.

“We must do all that we can to encourage, rather than discourage, both parents being actively involved in the lives of their children so that they have the best chance of becoming happy, well-adjusted and successful in life,” said Dads’ Resource Center Founder and Chair Dr. Joel N. Myers.



Pew Research Center. U.S. has world’s highest rate of children living in single-parent households.

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