How To Survive The Holiday For The Sake of The Children

Life & Love | Gerren Keith Gaynor | 12/03/2014 | 02:00 PM EST

Centric guides you on how to co-parent during the holidays when there's love lost after divorce or separation

The holidays can get tricky when co-parenting with an estranged lover. How do you decide who gets to spend time with the kids? Do you share the time together or do you celebrate separately?

Mariah Carey
and Nick Cannon
gave us one birds eye view of keeping it peaceful for the sake of the kids by celebrating their Thanksgiving holiday with their twin daughter and son, not to mention they will also allegedly spend the Christmas holiday together as well.

Whether divorced, separated or simply no longer dating, one can only imagine the trepidations that may come with spending the holidays with an ex in an effort to create a stable environment for the children. Depending on whether you and your ex have managed to get passed whatever led to your breakup, sharing time with the kids during the holidays doesn’t have to be such a drag. Luckily we here at Centric have curated a guide to surviving the holiday for the sake of the kids. Check it out.

Focus on the kids, not each other.
The worst thing you can do is make the holidays about you and your personal feelings and not the well being of your children. If you’re truly gathering for the sake of the children, be sure to keep them as your focus. Even if you don’t particular care for your ex, they are and will always be the parent of your child. If they were good enough for you to lay down and procreate with, they should be good enough to spend one holiday with. Don’t allow your personal reservations to impact how you act around your children. Particularly if they’re very young, ensuring that peace and harmony persists is the key to a happy holiday.

Forgive and move on.
If you still have a gripe with your ex, it wouldn’t be in your best interest to hold on to all that negative energy. The best way to enjoy the holidays while co-parenting is to forgive and move forward. Sit your ex down and have an adult conversation about where you stand. If there is still bad blood or things you would like to get off your chest, do so. The quicker you resolve these issues, the more quickly you can live in peace and the better parents you will be to your children. Forgiveness is life’s greatest recourse. You will live a happier life by doing so, not to mention it will subsequently do the same for the kids.

Invite other family members.
Make the holiday less awkward by expanding the family festivities to other family members. Invite your parents, siblings, etc. and make it a true family affair. It sure beats sitting around the house with just you, your ex and the children. Having more family and friends around will distract you from whatever weird energy that may still exist between you and your child’s father or mother. When everyone feels comfortable it creates a space of true holiday spirit.

Simply split your time with the kids.
Literally spending the holiday under the same roof is not always a realistic option for many exes. Sometimes separation is best. Just because you co-parent, it doesn’t mean you have to be the best of friends if that’s not something you’re truly open to. Instead talk it out with your ex about how you can each have your time with the kids for the holiday. Maybe one parent celebrates the holiday during the daytime, while the other parent takes the evening. While splitting your time may not be the greatest feeling, it’s fair and it allows you to have a little free time to go visit family and friends while the kids are away. Besides from a child’s perspective having two Christmas celebrations is pretty cool.

However you decide to spend your holiday, always remember that being cordial and ensuring your children are happy are what truly matter. Family and what that looks like in the 21st century is far more different than the days of yesteryear, so don’t feel guilty for not having that “perfect” image of a family you envisioned in the past. Just be the best version of a family you can be. That’s all that truly matters.

 (Photo: Tanya Constantine/Getty Images)

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