The first eight Christmases of my daughter’s life I did as a single parent. Last year was my first as a married father- and as a “blended” family. Some years have been quite painful when it came to my holiday time with my daughter; most have smoothed out along the way. Over time her mother and I have found a balance to splitting time between December 24 and 25. Are we both completely satisfied each year? No- but we have found middle ground and our daughter benefits the most when we do. Wherever you find yourself on the co-parenting spectrum this holiday season, here are some quick tips to keep in mind as you manage your way through.
- Abide by the set parenting time.
Whether you agree with it or not, following what is mandated by the court is a safe move. If the other parent is willing to offer you more time, great! Either way, make the best of the time you have been given and create great memories with your children.
- Don’t try to out-do the other parent.
Though it may look like they clean house when parents compete for a child’s final approval on gifts, the kids are the ones who really miss out. When this happens, presents become a competition based on selfishness, rather than an act of love.
- Remember it’s only one day.
We tend to lift Christmas Day up as the “crown jewel” of all holidays- and rightly so. Along with Easter, it is the most celebrated day of our faith. Whether you spend time with your kids on, before, or after December 25, what matters most is teaching them about the birth of Christ and what that means for their lives.
- Keep the communication lines open.
If you plan on using vacation time or altering the schedule over Christmas break, let the other parent know far enough in advance so they are not caught off guard. It saves everyone from the drama and gives you credibility so you are not caught on the opposite end a different year.
- Make sacrifices for your children’s sake.
This is a tough one because we naturally want to spend as much time with our kids at Christmas as possible. Take an evaluation of the big picture and do not make rash decisions. God knows the sacrifices we make for our kids and He will honor them with eternal blessings far greater than some short-term satisfaction on our part.
Mom and Dad, this is merely a small piece of a greater opportunity to model Christ to our sons and daughters this year. I pray you find the peace and joy He gives us and have a very BLESSSED Christmas!
…Try to do what is honorable in everyone’s eyes.
If possible, on your part, live at peace with everyone.
Romans 12:17b-18 HCSB
How can you co-parent this holiday season to for the overall benefit of your children?
By Matt Haviland
Husband to Christy
Dad of one daughter
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team Member
Founder of A Father’s Walk
Co-author of The Daddy Gap
Pick up a copy of Matt’s book, The Daddy Gap, co-authored with Dawn (Walker) VanderWerf.
REGISTER TODAY! Meet Matt Haviland along with Misty Honnold, Lori Wildenberg, and Becky Danielson at the 2017 Kansas City HeartCORe Single Parent Conference January 21. Click HERE for more information and to register.
The HeartCORe Single Parent Conference will inspire and encourage you to be the best mom or dad you can be during these challenging times. Be blessed by the messages given by single parent experts, Misty Honnold (Single Mom KC) and Matt Haviland (A Father’s Walk Single Dad Ministry). Culturally relevant material presented by Lori Wildenberg and Becky Danielson, co-founders 1 Corinthians 13 Parenting, will arm you with the current cutting edge information for families.