Navigating the holidays with children after a divorce

On Behalf of | Oct 18, 2021 | Family Law |

The holidays can be a stressful time for families of all shapes and sizes. Divorced parents, however, will feel the additional stress of juggling two independent households with the wants and needs of their children. Even though every family situation is unique, there are certain tips designed to keep the holidays peaceful that parents can heed.

While the holiday season represents certain travel, logic and monetary challenges for a divorced parent, there are numerous psychological difficulties. There are numerous tips that can help divorced parents reduce stress and eliminate unnecessary disputes through the holidays, including:

  • Listen to the children: It might not come as a shock, but their needs are likely different than yours. While you might fight tooth-and-nail with your ex-spouse about who gets to eat Thanksgiving dinner at which home, your child’s priorities might be vastly different. Find out what’s important to them so you can build your schedule around their needs.
  • Be a supportive listener: Following directly from the previous tip, experts encourage parents to take the time to hear what the child is saying is an emotionally validating experience. This, of course, also extends to the other parent. Even though you are no longer married, it is still wise to listen and be supportive of their concerns.
  • Work to keep siblings together over the holidays: This might prove a challenge as children age, but after a divorce, the sibling relationship is a crucial piece of a child’s growth and maturity. It is wise to ensure parenting time and visitation schedules line up in favor of both children whenever possible.
  • Compromise with your ex: Many people forget the compromise and negotiations that the divorce process demanded. This continues well into the post-divorce future. If your ex has a scheduling problem or financial limitation, it is important to work together to find a resolution that fits best with the entire family rather than taking a hard stance just to be contrary.

With the holiday season right around the corner, it is wise to remember these tips to help avoid or eliminate messy scenes. Do not hesitate to loop your ex into a conversation about alternate holiday schedules or revised parenting plan provisions. Remember to follow the legal process, however, as verbal agreements can be broken with no accountability.