Oftentimes, holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving are accompanied by celebrations and a feast on the table. Families all over the 50 states, including California, usually gather under one roof to catch up and celebrate with one another. However, not all families have a carefree holiday season.
Many children are excited just before a major holiday; time off from school, visits with extended family, holiday presents. However, there will be instances in which children may feel nervous about the upcoming celebrations and gatherings, especially if their parents are divorced. Divorced parents have already resolved issues of child custody and, therefore, should plan equal parenting time. But on holidays, each parent may have a different idea on how to spend the holidays with the child and their ex-spouse. Due to the stress this may cause, it is up to the parents on how they will make the holiday easier on their kids.
For parents who are already separated, holidays can be a challenging situation. However, conflict can be prevented by careful planning. Both parents should be open-minded to the suggestions of their ex on how the now-separated family should spend the time together. Each Parent may consider the changes that occurred after the separation such as a new addition to the family or problems that arose during previous holidays.
Reviewing this together may help parents avoid conflicts. Both parents should be committed and flexible on the parenting plan they have arranged. If the holiday plan needs to be adjusted, parents need to remember they should never argue in front of the children. Doing this may be uncomfortable for children and discourage their holiday spirit.
During the holidays, parents should be more cautious around other family members who party or consume alcohol. Being cautious may prevent problematic situations, which can destroy the fun during the holiday. Every parent's main concern should be with the happiness of the children. Remembering this may help parents put their kids ahead of any conflict that may arise.
Divorce is seldom complete without conflicts. The challenging times of divorce may affect the children's lives and the youngster may develop emotional trauma because of it. It is the responsibility of the parent to consider the child's well-being. Their decisions about visitation arrangements and a parenting plan should be in the best interests of the child.
Source: The Sonoma County Gazette, "Co-parents can create a joyful holiday," Bob Engel M.A., Nov. 1, 2012