The holidays can bring many things with them. For parents, this can include worries about whether the kids will have a good time. These concerns can be especially pronounced for parents who have recently gone through a divorce. A divorce changes many things about what the holidays look like for a family and has the potential to inject a lot of added emotion into the season.
It is important for parents to remember that, in the midst of these changes and emotions, they can take steps towards helping the holidays stay joyful for them and the children. These measures include:
- DO have a plan for the holidays
- DO talk with your ex-spouse about the plan make sure everyone is on the same page
- DO talk to your kids about the plan so they know what to expect
- DO be patient
- DO get the emotional support you need, whether it be from your support network or professional sources
- DO be positive and supportive towards your kids. This is especially important when talking with the children about the time they spend with your ex-spouse during the holidays
Divorced parents should also be aware that there are some things it is important to avoid during the holidays. These things could potentially derail parents’ efforts to give their children an enjoyable holiday season. Some of the “don’ts” of the holiday season are:
- DON’T turn the holidays into a competition between you and your ex-spouse
- DON’T use the kids to try to “get back” at your ex-spouse
- DON’T let frustration control your decisions
- DON’T be too aggressive in asking your kids questions about their time with your ex-spouse.
Another important thing to remember is that, as with other matters involving divorce and the kids (including legal matters), one of the key things for parents to do when it comes to navigating the holidays in the wake of a divorce is keep what is best for the children front-and-center.