As the holidays inch their way closer and closer, the season can become stressful for all families including families that have experienced divorce. The time of year can be the most challenging for divorced parents who have young children. While scheduling arrangements based on divorce and child custody rulings may already spell out who is to go where, advanced planning can go a long way to reducing stress for families that do not have their holiday plans spelled out.
As always the needs of the children should be put first. Divorced parents should try to avoid splitting whole days with the children between themselves and young children should not be divided between parents. A whole day together allows parents and children to fully enjoy their day and prevents children from worrying about the time when they will have to leave the parent they are spending time with. Time spent with both of the children's families is also important. A plan that is formed well in advance will make things easier on both families, and when a plan is formed both parents should abide by it by being on time.
If divorced parents no longer live near each other, the parent that is not able to spend the holiday with the children this year should make a phone call. The phone call should be positive and should let the children know that it is alright that time is being spent with one parent. Guilt should not be put on the children by saying how great it would be to be there. The parent that has the children should also make time uninterrupted time available for the other parent to check-in.
Divorced parents often feel guilty about the divorce but parents should not try to compensate or compete with each other by giving expensive gifts. The best gift a parent can give to their children is not complaining about the other parent in their presence.
Source: wptv.com, "Keeping the 'Joy' in the Holiday Season for Families of Divorce," Connie Colla, 12/15/10