The holiday season can be difficult for co-parents. Even if you have a good relationship with your co-parent throughout the rest of the year, everyone gets a little more emotional during the holiday season, and this can lead to parental alienation.
Common reasons for parental alienation in the holiday season
The first few holiday seasons after a divorce or separation can be especially hard for co-parents. Change and adjusting to new transitions is hard for everyone, and this can cause one parent to start alienating the children against the other parent.
Sometimes, the introduction of a new step-parent or significant other can cause problems where there previously were none.
You and your co-parent may have gotten along well for years, splitting the holiday season with no problems and making happy memories with your children.
But if you start dating someone new or remarry, you might find your co-parent acting quite differently when the next holiday season comes around. They may suddenly want to change the schedule or insist that the children spend more time with them.
Remember that you are creating memories for your children
However, parents must do their best to put aside any feelings of insecurity, jealousy or anxiety and remember that the main goal is creating happy holiday memories for the children.
Watch out for signs of parental alienation syndrome from the other parent if you are in this type of situation. Although you may have a custody order in place with a shared schedule, this does not control how your co-parent behaves when they are with the children.
You could learn that your co-parent is talking poorly about your or your new spouse or trying to compete with you when it comes to gift buying. Comments from your children about whose gifts were “better” or whose house they had more fun in could be alarming signs of parental alienation syndrome.
What you can do
There are things you can do to try to help the situation. Be there for your children, be willing to compromise with your co-parent and take care of yourself.
When the situation gets so bad that it is ruining your holiday time with your children, it might be best to seek professional advice.