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How To Communicate Effectively During The 2023/24 Holiday Period

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Has your marriage broken down? Improve your crucial communication skills during the 2023/24 holidays and communicate effectively with body language.

Are you going to ignore arguments or shut down during this holiday period? Poor communication can cause massive problems. Effective communication skills and active listening are essential. Inactivity due to bad weather or feeling flat are challenging to handle.

Your sense of well-being is important. Keep yourself healthy and hydrated, and do your best to keep your energy levels up. Get some exercise, and avoid long stints indoors. Avoid eating fried foods, junk food, sweets, and alcohol to deal with pressure. It will just do the opposite.

Effective communication is key

One of our parents recently experienced a stressful divorce, and the kids were caught up in the split. For anonymity reasons, let’s call this parent Anthony. Anthony emailed our office six months later, thanking our office for recommending an app for an improved communication style.

Anthony’s email read something like this:

“Hi, Luke and the Shanahan Family Law team. I just wanted to thank you for recommending the free not-for-profit apps, The Human Improvement Project “, “In Love while Parenting” and “The Happy Child App”. I’m not usually one for these kinds of apps, but I have to say they have brought so much love to my family and daughter. Thanks for recommending such a great resource. Regards, Anthony (one happy parent).”

We are so thankful to Anthony for reaching out and thrilled the app helped him with communicating effectively.

SFL - Human improvement project

Sometimes, all it takes is a shift in the way you think. Parenting apps can give you great ideas to communicate effectively using the correct body language. If you haven’t already downloaded the app, give it a go here.

The holidays are here. For some parents, it means planning new festivities, managing in-laws, and buying presents. After a marriage breakdown, even just thinking about the holiday period can cause extreme grief and stress leading up to these events.

Holidays occur every year, making it crucial to have good parenting arrangements. Having one will prevent added stress during these holiday periods. This is even more important in today’s climate.

Parenting Plans or Consent Orders for holidays

So, where do you begin? You may have put parenting arrangements in place when getting a divorce order. Parents with consent orders from the family court or parenting plans should review them when disputes arise. It is important to remember that the written agreement is not for your benefit but for the children’s benefit. The order or plan will determine who the children will spend time with. It will likely detail where the changeovers will occur and the required level of effective communication between a parent and the children.

The upcoming holiday period may result in further arguments between the two people children love the most. Children often carry the weight of their parent’s arguments on their shoulders. While they may laugh and carry on, deep down, they may be experiencing some fear or guilt.

Parenting orders and plans are the foundation of a good co-parenting relationship. Remember that they are being implemented as a tool to successfully co-parent and move forward with the child’s best interests in mind.

Most orders or plans include language like:

  • “As agreed between the parents in writing, failing which…” or
  • “Unless otherwise agreed between the parents.”

When your order or plan includes this line, you have some flexibility to develop proper alternative arrangements. You must follow the order or plan if there aren’t any alternatives.

SFL - communicate effectively (1)

Parenting arrangements for the 2023/24 Christmas holidays

Another good way to manage this period is to use an effective co-parenting app to communicate effectively. (A parent recommended the Coparenta App to us). Or read this in-depth review on the best co-parenting apps. They can take the stress out of having to organise your time over such a busy holiday period. Let’s face it, these times should be fun. If anything will make it easier, then why not try them?

coparenta schedule app

Communicate effectively over these Sunshine Coast holidays

The best way to communicate effectively is to give the other parent sufficient notice, especially if you request a change to the order or plan. Adopting a more flexible communication approach is helpful. Most importantly, though, it is respecting the other parent’s decisions. When the other parent declines your change request, you must respect any existing order or plan. While it is not easy to hear ‘no’, it is vital to respect the current agreement. If this agreement is no longer practical, we recommend contacting our Sunshine Coast Shanahan Family Law office.

Talking about family traditions

Before separation or divorce, children became accustomed to spending the holidays together as a family. Can you co-parent at a level where you can communicate effectively about the children? If you can bring up past holidays, try discussing how the family celebrated in previous years and how you can continue the tradition. Consider any views the children expressed and how much weight you place on those views.

Parenting applications like Our Family Wizard and calendar applications like Time Tree help you communicate effectively and understand each other.

At Shanahan Family Law, we can assist you with compliance. We can prepare varying court orders, work through an existing agreement, or prepare a new co-parenting agreement. For us, it’s easy, and it’s something we like to do for you. We want to make the transition as seamless as possible. You can learn more about the services we provide here.

Five practical communication tips for the holidays

Consider your body language

All relationships need effective communication, whether romantic, co-parenting or a relationship with your children. Remember that non-verbal communication is as important as what you say. The difference between positive body language and negative body language is enormous. Facial expressions and maintaining eye contact are as important as the right words. Consider body language when communicating with your co-parent.

As far as possible, your children need to see and hear that you can co-parent effectively and with respect.

These practical tips will assist you with effective communication with the co-parent to avoid conflict or confusion:

  1. Do not discuss adult matters or plans in front of your children.
  2. Do not use your children as messengers.
  3. Keep your children’s best interests at the forefront of your mind.
  4. When co-parenting, remember that you are doing this for the well-being of your children.
  5. Start learning more and download an app like the Human Improvement Project

Whilst these five (5) tips may appear simple, they go a long way towards cementing a positive path forward. They will help you avoid pitfalls in the future. Effectively communicating leads to a happy partnership.

SFL - parenting 1

Local Sunshine Coast destinations bound to make you happy

Looking after yourself and staying positive and focused are crucial to successful co-parenting. We live in such a beautiful place, the Sunshine Coast, and it has so much to offer. Local Sunshine Coast destinations are bound to make you happy.

We repeatedly say if you’re going to have a difficult day, the Sunshine Coast is the best place to be. There are many places to explore, from Noosa to MaroochydoreBuderimCaloundra and everything in between. Visit places like the Buderim Forest WaterfallsCotton Tree Maroochydore, and the Maroochydore Sunshine Plaza High Ropes Course for the kids, or head further north to Hasting Street Noosa.

No matter what you have planned, going outside is good for the mind, body, and soul. Explore some of the destinations above and start lifting your spirits. Visit some of these fantastic coastlines we have here on the Sunshine Coast.

Gold Coast destinations to brighten your life

There are many beautiful locations in Australia. The Gold Coast is blessed with stunning scenery and fun activities. There is much to see and do on the Gold Coast, including:

  • Theme Parks. The Gold Coast is famous for its theme parks, including Warner Bros. Movie World, Sea World, Wet’n’Wild, and Dreamworld.
  • Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. An excellent place for families, this sanctuary offers a chance to see native Australian wildlife up close and participate in interactive experiences.
  • Tamborine Mountain. For a change of scenery, head to the hinterland and explore Tamborine Mountain’s rainforests, waterfalls, and quaint shops.
  • Springbrook National Park. Known for its stunning natural beauty, including waterfalls, rainforests, and the famous Natural Bridge.
  • Lamington National Park. Offering spectacular rainforest walks and birdwatching opportunities, it’s a bit further from the coast but well worth the visit.
  • Robina Town Centre. For those who love shopping, this large shopping centre offers a wide range of stores, eateries, and entertainment options.

From the team at Shanahan Family Law, we wish you a happy and safe holiday period.

If you need help with family law matters, contact us for a free discovery call.

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Shanahan Family Law, founded in 2009, focuses on delivering positive outcomes for clients by listening, caring, and tailoring services to individual needs. Let us help you find a positive outcome.

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Luke Shanahan Family Law

Luke Shanahan


Luke Shanahan is the Principal Solicitor of Shanahan Family Law. Luke has been practising family law since 2008 and started his firm in 2014. He has three beautiful daughters and a supportive, gorgeous wife. In his spare time, Luke enjoys playing tennis and trips to the beach with family and friends. 

Luke is dedicated to providing the best possible legal representation for his clients. His experience and passion for family law set him apart from other solicitors. You only have to read their 5-star reviews to understand that.

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