Joy and stress go hand in hand during the holiday season for everyone. Still, it can be an especially anxious time for families that have undergone or are undergoing a divorce. Tensions can run high when shuttling children between separate homes and negotiating schedules.
Many divorced spouses agonize over arranging the holidays for their kids, and some struggle even though they’ve been divorced for many years. Sometimes making clear plans can seem impossible, but there are some things you can do to bring back holiday cheer.
Five tips for holiday parenting
Divorced and separated parents have a lot to deal with, especially during the holidays, but here are a few helpful suggestions to relieve stress:
- Focus on your children: Put aside any negative feelings for your former spouse and concentrate on the well-being of your kids. Don’t punish your ex by not allowing him or her to see the children during the holidays.
- Agree on a clear plan: Work together with your former partner on a holiday schedule, including all the time the kids are out of school, and determine which days they will spend with each parent, where they will be picked up and when.
- Talk to your kids: Psychologists say kids do better emotionally when they know what to expect. Let them know what the holiday will look like and encourage them to have fun when they’re with their other parent. Remember, it’s not a competition between you and your ex.
- Don’t push when they return: Warmly welcome your kids when they come back home, but don’t overwhelm them with questions about what they did. Let them share their experience as they see fit. When you talk about the other parent, be supportive and positive.
- Be patient: Divorce is painful, even if both spouses know it’s the best option for everyone. While it takes time to deal with the intense feelings, you will find a new way forward and develop meaningful and joyful traditions in your new life.
Plan your holidays around your children’s best interests
Divorces can be especially contentious when children are involved, and it’s not always easy to keep those feelings hidden. An experienced and compassionate family law attorney here in North Carolina can help you with disputes over custody and child visitation and develop a workable plan that addresses your current and future needs.