There is never an ideal time for couples who share children together to end their marriages. Circumstances do not always permit divorcing spouses to select what time of year they decide to go their separate ways. For the children of those relationships, the holidays can be a particularly trying time. That’s because most families have established long-standing traditions that are often focused on children’s activities and events.
One important thing for newly divorced parents to remember is that their children’s relationship with their other parent is still crucial to their development. Although the marriage has ended, it is nevertheless still in the children’s best interest to continue having their other parent involved in their lives.
Here are a few tips for parents with children who find themselves divorced during the holidays:
— Newly divorced parents need to set aside any personal grievances with the other parent and realize the holidays provide an opportune time to establish new family traditions. Both parents should agree to reign in emotions and collaborate with each other to create a plan that allows shared holiday activities between both parents and the children. Perhaps an alternating yearly schedule for Thanksgiving and holidays occurring at the end of December. That way each parent gets to enjoy the presence of his or her children during certain times, every other year.
— Expand the children’s family circle by including more members of your family into the child’s life during the holidays. Divorce often makes children feel isolated. Bringing over additional aunts, uncles, cousins or grandparents for large family gatherings can provide an emotional offset of attention the children may not otherwise receive.
— Divorce often leaves children confused. Many times, children of divorce wrongly assume that something they did contributed to their parents’ breakup. Setting aside some one-on-one time between you and each of your children can help to assure them that your love for them has not wavered despite the divorce.
Some Florida parents will have more difficulty than others at setting their emotions aside long enough to plan new child custody traditions with their ex-spouses. If that is the case, then consider using your family law attorney as an intermediary. Often, a third-party can prove helpful in defusing volatile emotions so that a fair and reasonable agreement can be created between both parties regarding child custody matters.
Source: The Huffington Post, “Starting New Holiday Traditions After a Divorce” Dr. Gail Gross, Nov. 26, 2014