The holiday season is supposed to be one of the happiest and most joyful times of the year. However, a high percentage of parents report the holidays make them feel fatigued, stressed, or otherwise frustrated. According to a survey published by the American Psychological Association (APA), nearly three quarters (1/3) of parents complain about holiday stress.
For divorced or separated parents, the holidays can be uniquely difficult to figure out equal parenting time. There is an additional layer of complexity to deal with. Here, our Illinois parental responsibilities attorneys highlight three (3) of the most common challenges families face and we offer tips for overcoming these issues.
Challenge #1: Trying to Fit Everything In
One of the primary sources of holiday stress is there is simply too much to do. There are so many people to see and so many wonderful events to attend. At the same time, your children are likely preparing for a multi-week break from school. Divorced and separated parents may be forced to prepare for twice as many holiday gatherings.
Solution: Plan. The best way to approach the busy holiday season is to start planning as early as possible. With a detailed and well-organized parenting plan, it will be a lot easier to navigate the holiday stress. By writing things down ahead of time, you will be in a better position to make sure that parenting time is equal and fair.
Challenge #2: Deadline with Different Holiday Customs
It is not uncommon for separated parents to have wholly separate customs and traditions. For some families, the holidays are a time for religious observation. For other families, celebrations may be entirely secular. For some families, differing traditions can be a real source of friction. It is a sensitive matter that must be handled with care and compassion.
Solution: Respect and understanding. For separated families, it is important to focus on finding collaborative solutions that work for everyone. In most cases, the best approach is to try to give everyone space to have their own holiday celebrations.
Challenge #3: Conflict
Even the best, most detailed parenting plan in the world will not eliminate every source of conflict. Unexpected things happen, disagreements arise, and parents may have a hard time finding a solution. Conflicts and disagreements between divorced/separated parents during the holidays can really put a damper on the season.
Solution: Communication. Parents need to find a way to communicate with each other. Proactive, ongoing communication can do a lot to reduce and resolve conflicts. While you cannot prevent every conflict, it is helpful to know you have a way to address the problems when they arise. You may also find our previous post Five Tips For Creating A Holiday Parenting Time Schedule helpful.
Contact Our Illinois Parental Responsibility Lawyer for Support and Guidance
At Keller Legal Services, our Illinois custody and visitation attorneys are compassionate, solutions-focused advocates for parents. If you have questions or concerns about parenting time around the holidays, we are here to help. Contact us now for a confidential case evaluation. We represent parents throughout the entire region, including in Kane County, DuPage County, Kendall County, and Lake County.