While the holidays are dubbed “the most wonderful time of the year,” it may not be so for divorcing couples with children. In fact, people in the throes of divorce (as well as those who have been divorced for years) loathe this time of year. The same could be said for parents who were never married but are still vying for time with their kids for the holiday season.

With all that can go wrong between parents during the holidays, there are two steps parents can take to make the season with an ex a bit more palatable. This post will highlight them.

Celebrate with your ex –A bit unconventional to say the least, but being present when your child opens gifts or takes part in a Christmas program is a way to mend fences with your ex and show your child that he or she matters. Of course, depending on your situation, this may not be advised; especially if there is a restraining order issued. Otherwise, it may well be worth the hour or two that you spend around your ex just to show the kids that you love them.

Stay aware of tones – For exes who communicate primarily through text messaging, it is important to understand how certain phrases and statements may be misinterpreted by the reader. This is because the voice inflections that come with normal speech cannot be heard through a text. For example, a text “be there soon…traffic is horrible” may come off as a sarcastic jab instead of a legitimate warning. If you’re not sure of what you’re saying (or how to say it) pick up the phone.

Source: HuffingtonPost.com, “Surviving the co-parenting ‘holiday shuffle’” Michelle Crosby, November 18, 2013