Christmas is already a notoriously stressful season for families. It can be even more challenging to navigate when parents are divorced and trying to balance everyone’s wishes with spending time at each parents’ home. Add a global pandemic to the mix, and things can get even more troubling.
Keep Everyone Safe
It’s understandable that divorced parents want to spend time with their children during the holidays, but this isn’t a typical year. According to the latest CDC guidelines, people should avoid traveling and gathering with family outside their immediate household.
Even if you don’t feel ill, there’s a chance that someone you, your children, or your ex comes in contact with could be infected by COVID-19. Traditions may need to be put on hold for this year in favor of health and safety.
Coming to an Agreement With Your Ex
For children of divorce, the holidays can be a stark reminder that the family has been divided. Children should never feel as if they are disappointing a parent, being forced to choose, or won’t have their needs met.
As parents, it’s your job to work together to remain flexible and understanding during these trying times. Here are a few guidelines that can help keep your priorities in check:
- Both parents are responsible for making healthcare decisions for their children, which may be relevant during a pandemic.
- Even during COVID-19, both parents are required to follow the existing parenting plan. One parent cannot keep the other from seeing their child, even during a pandemic, unless doing so puts the child’s health at risk.
- Most people have become comfortable using Zoom over the past year as well as other video apps. This can be a great way to see family over the holiday during the pandemic.
- Validate your children’s feelings if they express anxiety, sadness, or other emotions. Never make them feel guilty about time away from you, and let them know you are there for them.
- Exhibit responsible behavior with your ex. Even when you think they aren’t, your children are paying attention. They will adapt better to having parents living apart and can just enjoy being children when both parents get along.
- Make some new holiday traditions. Create some positive memories for 2020 by doing something new this Christmas. Maybe it’s a day of playing board games or having a cookie decorating contest.
The Best Interests of Your Child
This year has been nothing short of exhausting for parents trying to keep their kids safe. But that must continue to remain a priority. Just as the courts used this standard when you divorced, the best interests of your child must come first. This is above one parent or another’s desire for a large family get together or a trip to the mall to see Santa, which may not be safe at this time.
Agreeing with your ex about what is best for your child during the holidays and in the midst of a pandemic might be challenging. When conflicts do arise, the advice and guidance of an experienced family law attorney can help.
Contact AB Law in Tacoma, Washington today. We offer free consultations and can outline your options.