If you are a new single parent dealing with your first holiday season, you may be feeling overwhelmed and under-supported. This type of experience with child custody agreements is widespread, according to experts, who explain that exes can often be a challenge around the holidays. Family law professionals in New York have some tips for making the best of your parenting time, even if your co-parent is increasingly difficult.

First, parents should be sure to have reasonable expectations of their children’s other parent during the holidays. Your ex is sure to act true to character, even though the gift-giving season approaches; if that person is generally stingy or chooses to take credit for others’ presents, those attributes are unlikely to change. Make sure that you know what to expect from your ex so you and your kids are not disappointed by that person’s bad behavior. If you plan for potentially negative interactions, you can behave in a positive fashion and avoid derailing your holiday celebration.

This is particularly true for parents who have been known to disappoint their children by failing to deliver on large promised gifts. If your ex has a history of flaking out on major plans – think that ski trip to Colorado that never happened – make sure to keep your Christmas plans independent. That way, your children will not experience compounded disappointment; you don’t need to say, “I told you so.”

Finally, one of the most important attributes of an effective co-parent is a positive attitude. Keep the actions of your ex in perspective. Maybe this person is just as frustrated and stressed-out as you are, for example. Spend some time enjoying yourself with other friends and family members to take your mind off of your New York custody arrangement. Prioritize your children and maximize your visitation time with the kids to ensure a happy holiday season for all.

Source: www.huffingtonpost.com, “Tis the season to take deep breaths” Christina Pesoli, Nov. 27, 2013