Divorce is almost never easy on children. During the holidays the stress can be even worse, especially when parents fight over who gets to have the children.
Even if the split was less than amicable or involved contentious divorce litigation, it is important for parents to work together to make the holidays a special time for their children. Thankfully, there are some steps parents can take to make the season easier on their kids.
Talk with your ex-spouse about holiday plans well before they occur. Both parents should discuss their needs, desires and travel plans and try to come up with a solution that works for everyone. Neither parent should make concrete plans without first discussing them with the other parent.
It is just as possible to have a great Christmas celebration a couple days before or after December 25th, and you can still have a special Hanukkah even if you don't get to celebrate all eight nights together. The special time with your children matters much more than the date you celebrate.
If you and your ex-spouse are unable to work out an agreement, you can always rely on thechild custody and visitation arrangements you made during your divorce.
Put the Kids First
Remember how special holidays felt when you were a child? Do everything you can to help your kids hang onto that feeling. Do not make kids feel like sharing the holidays with both parents is a burden. Even if you are upset that you cannot spend as much time with your kids as you would like, do not pass that guilt onto them.
The holidays can be a fun and special time for divorced families, as long as the parents can agree to be civil and work together. The best gift you can give your kids is a celebration full of love and joy.
Source: The Huffington Post, "Divorced Parenting During the Holiday Season: Flexibility is the Key," Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D., Nov. 15, 2011.