Divorce is never simple, but the attorneys at Baker & Harris Law understand that navigating the holidays after a divorce can be particularly complicated. There’s no question that even families who haven’t been through divorce can have some struggles with the holidays. After all, the holidays are complicated even without throwing divorce into the mix. It’s a stressful time of year and there’s a lot to figure out. Extra commitments and obligations, figuring out gift purchases, blending traditions and deciding where festivities will be held are all challenging regardless of your marital status.
Though the added stress of the holidays can make divorced parents more apt to disagree, it’s particularly important that they make a concerted effort to be civil for their children’s sake. Why? Because professionals suggest the way holidays are handled can actually set the tone for the entire upcoming year. Parents don’t need to like each other, but for their children’s sake, it’s important for them to work together in parenting. If they don’t, the children will struggle to adjust.
It’s no easy task to make the holidays go smoothly and there are no simple answers. There are probably as many ways to handle the holidays as there are divorced families. But here are some suggestions that may ease a newly divorced family into handling the holidays. Ultimately what works for you will depend largely upon you and your child’s other parent and the type of co-parenting relationship that you have.
When you split the holiday, both parents get to spend some time with their children on each holiday. This option can add a parenting time transition to an already-jam-packed schedule. If seeing your child’s other parent is exceptionally stressful for you or likely to involve a disagreement, this may not be your best option for handling holidays. It’s also important to consider your child. Some children can handle the chaos that accompanies frequent transitions between parents, while others struggle with this.
It is quite common to for one parent to have “even-year” holidays and the other “odd-year” holidays. While this works for many families, alternating holidays means that you must deal with your disappointment about not spending every holiday with your children. You may need to work on getting past the media hype that contributes to having unrealistic expectations about holidays. It’s also important to focus on taking care of yourself. When you don’t have your children with you, it is up to you to handle holidays in a healthy way for yourself. Taking care of yourself not only helps you adjust, it will help put your child at ease as well.
This option is not for everyone, but it does work for some. Divorced parents who choose to spend the holidays together with their children will need to dig deep within themselves and manage to be at the same table with each other. For some parents, this actually works. If there is even the slightest chance of negativity or hurt feelings, you probably won’t want to choose this option for handling holidays.
No matter what you choose, keep it focused on the kids. You may not expect to have a happy holiday, but do your best to make it an enjoyable time for your child. Baker & Harris Law in Blackfoot, Idaho wishes you a happy holiday season.