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How to Survive the Holidays with a Difficult Co-Parent

'Tis the season to be jolly...unless you are a co-parent dealing with a difficult parent. The holiday season can be challenging for those who are splitting the holidays with someone else. It is not uncommon for small misunderstandings to rise into large-scale fights because of communication gaffes. Because of the popularity of text messaging (especially when parents do not communicate well to begin with), the potential for issues continues to grow.

With all the potential for problems, parents can still get along during the holiday season. This post will identify some helpful tips.

Make it about the kids - Staying child-focused is the ideal way to avoid fights about co-parenting. Not only will it help you move past (or present) pain and anger, it will help you in being a good listener and problem solver. Indeed, setting aside hurt and anger can be difficult, but it also has the best rewards.

Manage your tone - Co-parenting is just as much a business relationship as it is a personal one. With that, having the same tone that you would with a business associate can help in avoiding troubling misunderstandings. This is especially important when you are communicating through text messages, when the inflection of your voice is unheard.

Be open to compromise - Parents who are steadfast and rigid in their stances, whether it is about religion, parenting time or the types of gifts children may have, are more likely to be disappointed during the holiday season. With that, co-parents should be open to compromise in order to quash disputes that could ruin the holiday experience for children.

Source:, "Surviving the co-parenting 'holiday shuffle'" Michelle Crosby, November 18, 2013

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