The first post-divorce holiday season can get very tricky for parents. All of the old rules and expectations you’ve established over the years with your co-parent have probably gone out the window — especially where gifts are concerned.
In the past, you and your co-parent probably decided what gifts to get your children together. This year, you may find yourself feeling uncomfortably competitive about the whole thing.
So how do you keep from turning into a Grinch this holiday season? How can you keep your co-parent from ruining your holiday spirits? Here are some tips:
Don’t try to buy love
Experts generally agree that parenting with your wallet is not only ineffective but ultimately harmful to your children.
Talk to your co-parent and discuss the fact that you don’t want to end up in competition with them over gifts or the kids. See if they’re willing to set a budget you both can handle.
Decide on a plan for special gifts
Does your child want something really special this year? Whether it’s an iPad or the new Harry Potter LEGO set, you and your co-parent probably both want to be involved in the gift-giving.
See if your co-parent is willing to split the cost (and the credit) for the gift so that you aren’t racing against each other to buy your child’s “big gift” first. Even better: Agree to meet up on the holiday long enough to give your child their special present together.
Be flexible and communicate often
Keep the lines of communication open throughout the holiday season so that you and your co-parent can avoid duplicate gifts. This can also help you avoid conflicts over the types of gifts that your child is allowed to have.
For example, your children will fare better (and experience less confusion) if you and your co-parent are on the same page about things like whether make-up is age-appropriate for your pre-teen or R-rated video games are acceptable.
When you and your co-parent agree to collaborate despite your differences, you can end up having a very happy holiday season.