So, were you one of the thousands of folks crowding into Best Buy or Target this year on Black Friday, looking for just the perfect gift at a perfect price? You overheard your son specifically say he wanted an Xbox One, and you just *have* to get it for him.
If your child is anything like our children, sometimes it’s difficult when they don’t get what they want for Christmas. Having that “attitude of gratitude” is something that takes time and maturity. It’s all too easy to pout when you don’t get what you want.
What do you, as a parent do when you don’t get what YOU want? When you can’t see your child every day over the Winter Break? When you specifically told your co-parent that *you* were buying the Xbox One, but your co-parent opened presents first with your son and – what do you know? – Santa brought an Xbox One to Dad’s house too! He gets to spend Christmas morning with little Tommy AND he tried to one-up you on the gift? No fair!
Remember that your child has a right to love both of his parents equally. And a right to fully enjoy his time with both parents, free from guilt about time NOT spent with the other parent. You and your co-parent may have made the choice to end your relationship, but your child didn’t. Your co-parent may have been a lousy partner, but he can be a really good Dad, and your child deserves to think so. Your child is paying attention to how you react to everything, and when you express disappointment or irritation about Dad’s choices, your child notices.
Make a new year’s resolution this year to appreciate your co-parent and to help foster cooperation with him or her. Just because he or she may not have been the best partner does not mean he or she cannot flourish as a parent. If you still have hard feelings for your ex, maybe now is the time to let those go. If you can’t do it for you, do it for your child. Your children deserve to have a magical holiday season, in whichever parent’s house they may be. Even if it’s not yours this year, remember that it will be yours next year. Childhood is temporary, but your children’s memories of how Mom and Dad behaved over the holidays are long-lasting. The very best gift you can give your child this holiday season is a good co-parenting relationship, and that is something that your child will never outgrow.