The holiday season can be a difficult time for couples who are separating or have finalized their separation. This is especially true for couples with children, as they will likely be facing their first holiday split between two households. Easing a child's disappointment during the holiday season is challenging but can be done. Here are some suggestions for making the holidays as merry as possible.
Have A Holiday Plan In Place. Nothing brings the impact of separation home to children and parents more harshly than celebrating the holidays apart. Parents should consider hosting the holiday celebrations in alternate years to make conflict less likely, as the child will know every other year they will spend the holiday season with one of their parents.
Keep Family Traditions Going: If possible, both parents should try to maintain past holiday traditions, such as hosting extended family gatherings. If they find themselves unable to do this, they should at least try to maintain the tradition for the first Christmas season after they separate to at least lessen the amount of change the child will experience immediately after the divorce or separation? After that, they can create other arrangements.
Minimize parental conflict. Parents must do their best not to disagree or fight when they are together during holiday celebrations. This may upset their children and ruin the holiday for them.
Think long-term. Children often see the holiday season as a magical time. What do you want your children to remember about holiday celebrations when they have grown up?
Focus on the children. Although parents may feel as much anguish as their children during the holiday season, they should conceal it as much as possible. Instead, they must strive to ensure their children enjoy the season - even if this means that they must help their children to feel good about spending the holidays with their other parent.
What should the parent without the children do during the holidays? This parent should try to establish new celebratory traditions. They could celebrate with friends, siblings or their own parents.
The holiday season is always an emotional time for families who have separated. But the holiday season can be more bearable with some thought and planning. If necessary, parents should work with an experienced family law lawyer to develop an effective parenting plan that covers the holidays.