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Tips for Divorced or Never Married Parents for Summer, Holidays and Special Days

The holidays can create a lot of stress, as there are several holidays, summertime and many special days. Here are five tips for divorced parents and others who do not live together for all year long.

First, it is not a competition. Remember that the holidays are about being with family. Do not try to give the biggest most expensive gifts or to make the most impressive dinner.

Second, if there is a court-ordered schedule, that is only if the parents do not agree. Do not rigidly insist on those days and times. Be flexible. Consider your child. Is it really better to force your child to leave the after-glow of Dad's special pancakes or Mom's incredible cinnamon rolls because the court papers say that the transfer should be at 10 a.m.? Perhaps noon, when things have calmed down will allow the child to fully enjoy the presents and the special food at each house.

Third, make sure that the child has a card and a gift for the other parent for his or her birthday, Mother's Day, Father's Day or Christmas. Even if the other parent has never taken the child to get you a gift, be the bigger person. Take the child to the dollar store, get on the computer and design a card together. Just do it.

Fourth, speak highly of what the child will do with the other parent. It may not be the tradition in your family to watch GameShow Network for eight hours on the Fourth of July or Christmas Day, but that is not important. Do what you want and let the other parent do the same. Vent about that stupid hoosier idiot to a best friend, a brother, a parent, on a blog, in a chatroom. Not to, or in front of, the child.

Finally, be the bigger person. Greet the other parent with a smile and good wishes for the holiday. If the other parent has family in from out of town, offer to do the driving. Encourage the child to have a good time and ask about how it was afterwards. Be genuinely enthusiastic. Always, always remember that the greatest gift to the child every day is the right to love the other parent unconditionally, without condemnation.

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