Divorce During the Holidays is Tough on Children
Many times during the holiday season, divorced parents create unnecessary conflict about issues such as which days the children will be where, or who is buying what gifts. However, first and foremost, remember this season can be very tough on the children as they continue to adjust to the change in family dynamics. Your top priority is to make sure that the children have a loving and peaceful holiday, no matter what the circumstances. If you are newly divorced, there are many things you can do to help yourself and your children have a happy and healthy experience. The attorneys of In Law We Trust, P.A., who have years of experience working with fathers, can’t stress enough how important your role is in ensuring that your children’s needs are at the top of your holiday list.
Helpful Tips for the Holidays
Plan ahead, but also be realistic – Have your holiday parenting time schedule figured out in advance and keep any conflict away from the children. Remember that there are new seasonal events, varied holiday schedules, school programs, holiday parties, gift exchanges, church activities, and other special celebrations during this time of year, so it is important to look at the seasonal calendar in its entirety. Be flexible to make sure that the children can enjoy the festivities without having to stick to overly strict visitation schedules and make unnecessary sacrifices. Be respectful to your ex-spouse by recognizing that the children have a right to spend time with both parents during the holidays.
Work with your ex in a cooperative manner – Do everything you can to reduce tensions with your ex. This doesn’t mean you have to take verbal abuse, but try to bite your tongue, or even force a smile if you have to, as you keep in the back of your mind that you need to be pleasant for the sake of the children. Give yourself a season of peace by not being drawn into arguments, criticism or gossip. Be proactive in making sure that you communicate that you and your ex-spouse need have the shared goal of making the holidays a wonderful time of year for everyone.
Be flexible and don’t feel guilty – The holidays are about celebrating with family and friends and they don’t have to occur on just one specific day. Hopefully the children can enjoy DOUBLE holidays– one with Mom and her side of the family and one with Dad and his side of the family! Don’t take on any guilt because you feel the holidays aren’t the same as they used to be. Accept the fact that sometimes divorce brings decreased financial means and less free-time. Do your best with your current resources and don’t beat yourself up about what used to be!
Start new traditions – Yes, things are different, and some of the activities you used to do won’t be feasible anymore. You may be able to keep some of the traditions, but then again this is the perfect time to start new one! Ask the children for their ideas on some new activities they would like to do. This is also a great time to do something for those less fortunate. Find a way to involve the children in charitable actions and you will be teaching your children lifelong lessons and skills.
Keep “grateful” top of mind – Remind yourself of the things to be grateful for. It is not the stuff that matters during the holiday, but rather the connection your child makes with you. Your time, attention, and emotional presence are much more important to your children than lavish gifts.
Above all, be patient with yourself, your children, and the rest of your family during the holiday season. It may very well turn out that your first post-separation/divorce holidays are more enjoyable than you ever imagined. We truly hope so!
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In Law We Trust, P.A. is a premier firm of divorce lawyers representing men in family law proceedings. We are uniquely positioned to assist our clients with the challenges men face in Florida’s court system. Call us today and get the proper representation men need and deserve.