Divorce, visitation and holidays-three things, that when combined, raise divorced parents’ blood pressure and put a lot of stress on their children. There are some things you can do to make the holidays a little more bearable.
The Divorce Law Journal highlights ten tips to help children enjoy the holidays:
- Give your children permission to love the other parent. Help your child make a card for Dad or buy a gift for Mom. Encourage them to call the other parent.
- Set realistic expectations. To divide or share a holiday, each parent will have only half as much time with the child. While children may enjoy multiple celebrations, most do not care that the festivities are actually on “the” day. Holidays can be alternated by year and if Mom does not have Thanksgiving with the child this year, bake a turkey the preceding weekend.
- Coordinate gift giving. If a child has a wish list, split it with the other parent. Resist the temptation to over-indulge the child with gifts. Do not give the child a gift you know the other parent is planning to give. If the other parent will not cooperate, do not complain to the child.
- Do not use your children as messengers. The decision of where to go and when should be decided by the parents. Permitting the child to choose time with one parent is a burden and vests the child with inappropriate power.
- Do what you say you are going to do. Pick up and drop off the children on time. Do not request last minute changes.
- Never let a child hear you disparage the other parent.
- Resist the temptation to permit your child to act as your caretaker.
- Do not uproot your children if at all possible.
- Reassure your children that the divorce or separation is not their fault and encourage them to call the other parent.
- Permit your child to see and love grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins on the other parent’s side of the family.
Above all, be unselfish. Put your children’s needs above your own desire to be with them. The best gift you could give your children may be to allow them to enjoy a stress-free, drama-free holiday.