With the holidays just around the corner, the stress of handling seasonal demands – from holiday parties to school events to family gatherings – can become heightened if divorce has also been thrown in the mix. Beyond the added commotion brought on by this time of the year, different emotions may be stirred up for parents and children alike due to a bad breakup, the realization that the family dynamic has changed, or any other sensitive issue relating to the divorce.
For these reasons, it is important for divorced or separated parents not to get caught up in the details of who is buying what, or how to divide up time with the kids, and forget how the holidays – while different than before – can still be enjoyable for all. Below are six things divorced parents can do to help ensure a happy holiday for the kids:
- Silence may not be golden: while you may want to dodge the subject altogether, children need a heads up to know what to expect during the holidays. And while this may seem obvious, it is important to let them know what will be different and reassure them as to what will remain the same. Likewise, it is helpful to discuss the happy as well as potentially difficult parts of this time of the year – no matter how badly you want to avoid it.
- Check emotions at the door: children are always watching, and it will be no different during the holidays. Make sure you acknowledge your feelings during this time but do not run with them – no matter how justified they may feel – because your kids are taking their cues from you. As such, reach out to your circle of support if you need additional support.
- Gift-giving with no strings attached: prior to pulling out your credit card, think about whether or not your child would be comfortable taking the gift to the other parent’s home. Even better, try to coordinate gift-giving with your ex so that everyone is on the same page.
- Meaning does not equal madness: with today’s over-consumerism, it is easy to put the holidays in overdrive. Take a step back and focus on what matters, cut back on obligations to spend time with the kids, and strengthen relationships.
- Prepare gifts for all: life after separation or divorce often leads to blended families. Do not let your child show up empty-handed and have to experience anxiousness and awkwardness. Children want to do special things for those they love – go the extra mile to include gifts for nontraditional family members and send a message of joy and security to your kids.
- Different doesn’t have to be disastrous: everyone – especially children – loves routine. It’s safe and predictable. Different, however, does not have to be scary. This may be a good time to keep holiday traditions that are worth continuing and start new ones for a change.
Brooklyn Family Lawyer with Experience
If you or someone you know is facing divorce or separation, contact an experienced Brooklyn family lawyer to learn about your rights and responsibilities under New York law. While divorce can be stressful and complicated, it does not have to be. The attorneys at the offices of Alatsas Law Firm. have years of family law experience guiding clients during this difficult, yet important, time. Schedule your initial consultation by calling (718) 233-2903 today.