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This month at the Kid Clinic: Helpful tips on how to have a smooth holiday season for co-parents

This month at the Kid Clinic: Helpful tips on how to have a smooth holiday season for co-parents

As the upcoming holiday season approaches there are many thoughts that race through an individual’s mind. For some people it is what I should buy my family members, what I should prepare for the holiday meal, whom we should invite. The list goes on.

An area of concern for some families is who will my children be spending the holiday season with this year, mother or father? Is it an odd or even year? Now, this may not apply to every family, however the majority of families have shifted from the original biological mother, father, and child, to what we now call a blended family.

As parents we play a vital role in how are children will handle adjustments to divorce, separation, and remarriage. Studies indicate that children of divorce or separation tend to do well if mothers and fathers—regardless of remarriage—resume parenting roles, set aside differences, and allow their children to continue relationships with both parents. It is encouraged that parents remember that their children’s adjustment and emotional wellbeing should be what is most important over the holidays and throughout the entire year.

So, this year if you feel that you are struggling with co-parenting here are some helpful tips on how to have a smooth holiday season.

  1. The first key is communication. Communication is extremely important and essential in having a successful co-parenting relationship. Therefore, this holiday season plan ahead of time and communicate with the other parent. For example if the mother’s family is visiting from out of town, communicate this with the father, and arrange a time in which the children would be able to see both sides of the family, so they can have quality time with both sides of the family. The more prepared and planned ahead of time the less misunderstandings and assumptions that will occur on both sides, which will result in less stress amongst the children.
  2. Secondly, remember to continue or create new family traditions. If there is a holiday tradition that occurred before the divorce or separation it can still continue. The children will enjoy that this is a tradition that continues regardless of which home they are celebrating their holiday. This type of co-parenting moment allows younger children the consistency and closeness that they had always experienced with their parents. Also, feel free to establish new traditions with the children, and encourage their participation and input.
  3. Lastly, children are extremely receptive, they are aware of how their parents feel about one another. Please be mindful of what is being said about an ex or how a person interacts with the ex in front of the children. A key to co-parenting, as difficult as it may be some times, is to practice kindness with the ex or co-parent. It is important to understand that children are at a vital age, and this is a stage in their lives in which they are learning important life lessons from their parents.

So, this holiday season be mindful of the transitions and adjustments that children may be going through, and keep their emotional well-being in mind.

The Campbell County Medical Group Kid Clinic is a school-based pediatric clinic offering medical care and counseling services for Campbell County students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade and their siblings ages 2 weeks and up. It is located at 800 Butler Spaeth Rd., across from St. Matthew’s Catholic Church. The Kid Clinic is open Monday-Friday from 8 am-5 pm. For more information, call 307-688-8700 or visit www.cchwyo.org/kidclinic. The Kid Clinic is a collaborative effort between Campbell County Health and Campbell County School District.

This blog was written by Sarah Clonch, LPC, Kid Clinic Counselor