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For divorced parents, figuring out holiday schedules can be confusing. There may even come a time when a predetermined schedule must be changed to accommodate you or your child’s needs. In this case, the way you approach the issue can have a huge impact on the outcome. It can also have a direct impact on your children, especially when you and your ex can’t come to a reasonable agreement about co-parenting holiday schedules.

Keep in mind that your ex may not be able to accommodate requests for changes in every instance. Accept that having quality time with your children is important for both parents, and just because you make a request doesn’t mean your ex is obligated to honor it. Instead, be prepared to accept an alternative response and work towards a compromise that makes as many people satisfied as possible.

Also, don’t promise your children something before you talk to your ex. If the outcome is not the one you’re expecting both you and your kids will experience disappointment. It can also lead to resentment on behalf of your kids, which isn’t fair to the other parent if there is a legitimate reason why he or she says no to your scheduling request. Discuss the matter with your ex-spouse, then with your kids so everyone is on the same page.

Finally, try to remain civil when discussing scheduling issues with your ex. While tensions may rise, remaining polite and civil prevents the issue from escalating further. It also improves the chance that both of you will receive a satisfactory outcome. Be willing to accommodate your ex’s scheduling requests when possible so that the favor may be returned to you when the time comes.