Child Custody During the Holidays
Child Custody Arizona
Parenting during the holidays can take a lot of patience in two parent households. In co-parent situations, it can be even more important if you have gone through a child custody dispute.
You’ve seen the scene in a movie or television show. A man or woman is floating alone in a lake. They sit in their wooden boat with one long oar hanging over each side. The main character, let's call him Donald for ease, generally looks happy and blissful. There isn't one cloud in the sky, the surrounding forest can only be defined as serene and Donald's face is consumed with euphoria. But then, in an instant, the boat starts to leak. Just one little spurt of water shoots up from the center of the wooden boat.
The leak is centralized, and Donald usually plugs the hole with a piece of duct tape or some formula that’s branded with, “As Seen on TV” on the side of the packaging. After Donald plugs the hole he goes back to relaxing and enjoying the ocean blue day. But then, suddenly, another leak springs up from the boat. Donald, startled, jumps up, grabs his plug of choice and stops the new leak. He's started to feel frustrated. He's panicked. His day has gone from utopic to dystopic faster than you can say, "What's up, Doc?" And, you would never guess, but another leak springs up right when Donald was about to sit down and enjoy a beer. Then another. And another. And, you guessed it, another leak springs.
This happens somewhat hilariously in the scene and eventually we find Donald floating in the middle of the lake floating with a funny face because his boat sunk to the bottom. His blissful day is gone. His happiness depleted and, quite literally, he is doing everything he can just to stay afloat. Although, to be honest, he’s a duck and water shouldn’t be that difficult for him to maneuver.
Doesn’t child custody and parenting feel like that sometimes? Doesn’t it feel like no matter how many times we plug the holes and keep fixing the boat we are inevitably going to sink? The biggest difference between Captain Donald of the High Seas and You the Parent are that your leaks will only be temporary.
You’ve had a hard day at work, your boss is being a jerk, you can’t believe your team choked in the final minutes (AGAIN!) and your stupid diet doesn't allow you anything on Thanksgiving. Then you pick your daughter up from school and instead of being her cheery, upbeat usual self she doesn’t talk to you at all, or, even worse, she tells you she’s, “Fine.” You try and make a joke and she yells, "Stop, dad! You're not funny." Which, obviously, you know is ludicrous. At that point you have a few options. You have the option to meet their mood and both of you can be pissed off for the rest of the night. However, we all know this will not help them process or help them deal with their feelings.
The other option is to be patient and remain focused on your most important job – being a parent. As our children grow older, they deal with the same emotions and external forces we do; however, with technology and limited communication due to external forces outside of our control, I would argue they are dealing with even more strict emotional complacency. So, be patient and remain focused.
They are not “off the hook” for their tasks. When my daughter is in these types of moods her go to, and I mean every freaking time, is to leave her backpack and lunch pail (she doesn’t really use a pail) directly in the hallway when you walk into our house. It drives me crazy because it's right where we walk. Most importantly, she knows it drives me crazy.
My two options are to react and meet her emotion (she's angry and upset so I'll be angrier and more upset! That'll work!) or I can sit back and calmly respond that she needs to put her stuff away where it goes. If she throws a fit or calls me a name or whatever it may be, I can actively listen if she's opening up and if not, I repeat myself in a calm, respectful manner for her to put her things away.
It’s simple – at the end of the day we can react, or you can respond. Begrudgingly, no matter how upset she may be, if I respond to her rather than react, she picks up her stuff and puts it where it goes. Think about it, if I would have let my frustrations spill out the leak would have been much worse. I would’ve overlooked the underlying issue (that something presumably happened at school that evoked her sad feelings and emotion) and yelled at her for not putting her stuff away.
She would’ve reacted too (they mimic our behavior), been upset and stormed up into her room slamming the door behind her.
Don't overlook what I'm saying. Like most things, the idea is simple, and implementation takes effort. It's not easy and it only comes with a large amount of intention and patience.
Finally, and this goes without saying, but love works wonders. Sometimes, all my daughter needs is a big hug and she feels better. Sometimes, she needs to go on a walk and have me hold her hand. Sometimes she needs time alone in her room. Whatever she needs, I make sure to focus on her needs and act with intention making sure she knows how much I freaking love her.
At the end of the day, we all love our children.
Also (I know I said finally, but I just ADD’d an important thought), invariably she always opens up. Sometimes an external force affected her – her friends were fighting and dragged her into the middle, or someone made fun of her. Other times she is just dealing with teenage hormones (dear God help me) and needs to know that those feelings are okay and know she won’t be punished for them.
Whatever the issue, I promise you that patience, focus and responding will help. I’ve been a single parent for a long time, and I found many of these techniques work wonders. As always, these are simply affirmations to myself and if I can help a few people along the way then I am very grateful to have that ability.
If you are having child custody or parenting issues or questions, please give us a call at (480)565-8020. We’re here to help. The Citadel Law Firm, PLLC attorneys are here to help. Our Child Custody Attorney Chandler are here to help.
This article is a courtesy of our Family Law and Chandler Divorce Attorney Michael Albee. Mike Albee, as he is usually referred to, will love helping you and your family with any family law issues to surface. We care about your well being and the well being of your loved ones.