One of the happiest times of the year becomes one of the hardest times of the year after a divorce. Yes, we’re talking of course about the Holiday Season. If you thought planning for all of the holiday events and figuring out gifts, schedules, time off school, and who goes where was tough before, try doing it now with two households and two adults who don’t like each other very much. It can be chaotic, to say the least. It can also be really disappointing for the parent who’s stuck enjoying parts of the Holiday Season without his or her children.
It’s easy to get stuck on you, your family, and your wants for the season. This mindset leads to fighting and resentment. Remember, this is the Holiday Season for your kids too! What do you want them to remember about this time of year? You could have a lot of different answers to this question, but you probably didn’t say “fighting.” With that in mind, let’s look at a few ways to make the Holiday Season more enjoyable for your children:
#1 Make more compromises than you normally would. You and your ex-spouse are adults; you need to make sacrifices for your children. Children are children; they shouldn’t have to make sacrifices for their parents to enjoy the Holiday Season. Think of your sacrifices as being a benefit for your children and as a holiday gift. Give up what you want, and don’t tell the children you’re doing it. This may include going to a holiday party alone so they can have their “Christmas” with dad on December 23rd.
#2 Avoid a fight whenever possible. The data here is very clear. The best thing for the kids is to not have the parents fighting with each other. Whatever you can do to avoid a fight is what you should do. Let’s say you’re arguing over the specifics of the visitation schedule. You might just have to say, “Okay, you can have Christmas Eve and Christmas Day this year, and I’ll make it up by having Easter and Thanksgiving. I don’t want to put the kids in the middle of a fight.” Remember, you can always consult with your family lawyer in January, when things are less hectic and emotions aren’t as high.
#3 Don’t make gift giving a competition. Collaborate with your former spouse about presents, so there isn’t a competition or resentment in regards to who gives the best gifts. Don’t undermine the other parent. Don’t try to “win” Christmas or give a gift you know the other parent won’t approve of.
If you are having trouble with any of these or feel your parenting plan needs to be legally adjusted by a judge or moderator, the Covington, LA family attorneys at Ellen Cronin Badeaux can help with this.