A previous post offered suggestions on ways that couples can enjoy the holidays after a divorce with as little stress as possible. Another thing that is important for recently divorced couples to keep in mind is how to make the holidays as stress free as possible for their children.
In the course of a divorce, parents have to come up with a plan for shared parenting time so that each parent can see their kids. Even without the holidays, visitation and custody arrangements can be confusing and difficult on the children.
There are some ways that parents can make the holidays as smooth and fun as possible for their kids, despite having to split time with them. Ultimately, if parents put their children's needs before their own, that can be a great start to avoid potential conflicts.
Helpful tips for holiday cheer:
- Be supportive: it is difficult for children to see their parents talk badly about one another in front of them; being a unified front helps kids see that they are more important than their parents' differences
- Work together: this is important, especially when it comes to things like gifts and scheduling; being petty about who is the better parent won't do any good
- Simplify: it can be tough on children emotionally and physically if they are shuttled between homes too often
- Avoid "guilting": it's always important for parents to let their children know they are missed, but telling them they should be with one parent instead of the other can cause a child to feel guilty
It can be difficult for parents to have to spend a holiday apart from their children. But even something as simple as a phone call to say "hello" can make a big difference.
Source: NBC News: West Palm Beach online, "Keeping the 'joy' in the holiday season for families of divorce," 15 December 2010