If you and your spouse have recently decided to get a divorce, one of the things you may have wondered about in the wake of the most recent holiday season, was how you’re going to handle future holidays after the divorce is final. The answer to that is different for every family. However, while we can all acknowledge that there will be challenges, there are a few pointers that may help to make the process easier. So we’ve put together a list of ideas for you to consider for next time.
How you present an idea to a child will have a lot to do with how they internalize it. Telling them that you are so sorry about the fact that they have to travel between their parent’s homes for celebrations will make it sound like a bad thing. If you make it sound like they’re lucky for getting two chances to celebrate the same holiday, it can make the situation sound a lot more exciting. So be careful when you explain holiday plans to your children after the divorce, and pick your words wisely!
Traditions are important!
Kids love traditions. Special things that their family does every year to mark certain events can carry a lot of emotional weight and importance. So while traditions after a divorce may feel pointless because the family is different, don’t give up on them. Create new traditions if the old ones don’t work for your family, or adapt old ones to work for the situation you have now. Either way, it’s important to make holidays special for you and your children, regardless of what else is going on in life. Also, ensure that they still have the chance to see extended family and loved ones during the holidays. Relationships are important!
Keep it civil!
Nothing ruins a holiday faster than a family fight. We understand that your children may be resentful of the changes, and you will have to work through their struggles as best as you can with them. But helping a child adapt to change is a far cry from causing drama that they will have to deal with. So the best thing you and your ex can do is be civil and pleasant to each other during the holidays. Since you are going to have to interact with one another regardless, the best thing you can do is
Holidays after the divorce are not going to be the same. Both parents may want to spend time with their kids during the holiday season, or on special days. So the best thing you can do is be flexible. Work with your ex to create a schedule that honors what both of you want, and keeps the needs and best interests of your children at the front and center. This way there is less tension and stress and arguments, and your children aren’t made to feel like they’re at the center of a fight.
Divorced parents often feel a lot of guilt around the holidays. They are aware of the fact that their children are sad about the breakup of the family, which tends to be more acute during the holidays. As a result, they sometimes overcompensate for the divorce by spending huge amounts of money on gifts. We would caution you to avoid this, as children want love and attention far more than ‘things’, and they also don’t like to feel as if they are being “paid off.” So keep gift shopping within your regular budget, and lavish your children with quality time instead. They will appreciate it more, and it will also help to strengthen the bond between you during difficult times.
We hope this list of suggestions was helpful to both divorced parents, and parents who have never been married but still struggle with custody issues. We understand that single parenting can be very stressful, and the holidays tend to add a lot more tension, which can be very hard. However, know that many families have survived this transition and gone on to be stronger, happier and healthier. You can do it to! Until then, if you need any advice about your divorce, or if you are considering divorce but don’t know how to begin the process, we are here to help you. Call our experienced family law attorneys at 517-886-1000. We are here to help!