The holidays can be a stressful time for a family in even the best years. But when a family has broken up, the tension can strip all joy from the season.
A divorce can be emotionally exhausting and can make the holiday season practically unbearable. All of this can be unfair to the children of a divorce. But there are some things to keep in mind as the holidays approach that can help calm the storm.
Here are five tips to help your children enjoy the holidays and help you survive through January.
1. Have a strategy. As much as possible, plan out where everyone will be and when so that your children will know what to expect and the other parent can plan his or her schedule as well. Be on time with planned phone calls and pick ups and drop offs.
2. Stay connected. Keep in touch with the other parent so that you are not overlapping gifts or giving the children presents that are forbidden to have. It is important to know what is going on with the children when they are not with you in order to be a good parent to them when they are with you.
3. Focus on the children. Remember that the children like parties and presents and seeing their cousins that they only get to see a couple of times a year and they should get to enjoy that. Try to surround young children with things that they know – especially if this is the first holiday since the divorce.
4. Be positive. It will hurt your ability to negotiate with the other parent if it gets back to them that you have been speaking unkindly about them. Since your family will be around the children, too, remind them to stay positive about your children’s other parent in front of the kids. It may be your dad’s instinct to make remarks about the other parent under his breath. Or it may be in your sister’s nature to want to discuss all of the details of how the marriage ended. But it is your job to tell your family that all comments about the family around the kids need to be upbeat.
5. Start some new traditions. Your children will miss the old traditions you had as a family. That is natural and you may miss them, too. But use this as an opportunity to start some new celebrations. Let your children help to design some of these new holiday rituals so that they can take some ownership of them.
O. Reginald (“Reggie”) Osenton is the Owner and President of Osenton Law Offices, P.A. If you need a Brandon child custody attorney, Tampa divorce lawyer, or Tampa family law attorney, call 813.654.5777 or visit Brandonlawoffice.com.