It seems like the “Black Friday” sales are starting earlier than ever each year. If this is going to be your first holiday as a separated or divorced parent, you could soon find yourself in a competition you never entered with your co-parent for the most expensive and elaborate holiday gifts and activities for your kids.
Whether it’s to get back at you or a ploy to be the favorite parent, your co-parent may refuse to commit to a price cap on gifts for the kids. They may also be unwilling to split the cost of a larger gift. You may just have to accept it this year and seek to add a provision regarding gift buying to your parenting plan going forward.
Children’s love can’t be bought – at least for long
Kids will be excited about a new iPhone or a week at Disney World over Christmas break. However, they also know when one parent is making up for not being there for them as much as the other. Years from now, they’re more likely to remember the everyday things you did for them rather than that iPhone that has long since become “vintage.”
Let your kids enjoy their gifts
Kids should always be able to play with or use anything either parent gives them regardless of where they are. Both of your homes are their home. The more you show your resentment at the gifts and other things your co-parent gives your children, the more they’ll feel guilty – and the more your co-parent will feel like they’ve “won.”
Don’t make comparisons
Don’t apologize for your gifts or activities you plan for the kids over the holidays if you can’t keep up with what your co-parent is doing. If you’re excited about them, your kids are more likely to be.
Unless your co-parent is buying things that are inappropriate or harmful for your children, there’s likely not much you can get a court to do about it. As noted, by adding some language to your parenting plan, you can at least codify some expectations. Having sound legal guidance can help you do this.