Nothing about divorce is easy, especially when you have children. What makes it even worse, is when the family undergoing a separation is faced with the holidays. After all, the holidays are supposed to be a time of joy and understanding—but during a divorce, it is often the opposite; and that can really take a toll on the children involved.
If you are in the process of a divorce—or are already divorced—use these three tips to make you, your ex-spouse, and your children happy during the holiday season:
1. Create and Embrace New Traditions
The holidays are often a time for family traditions. Although traditions are nice, they can be a double-edged sword—especially for your children. Old family traditions that you practiced with your spouse can spark feelings of pain, resentment, and even anger.
Instead of practicing your normal family traditions, create and embrace some new ones. Perhaps you can watch movies together, go out to dinner, or participate in an outdoor activity. When it comes to decorating the tree, opening presents, and other family gatherings try to be civil and invite your ex-spouse—although it will be difficult for you, it will be a welcome surprise for your children.
2. Don't Fight In Front Of Your Children
Stay civil, polite, and friendly during any encounter you have with your ex-spouse during the holiday season. It may not be easy, but it is far better than fighting in front of your children and ruining the entire holiday season.
If you cannot be civil with your ex-spouse, consider hiring a family law attorney for mediation. The lawyer can draw up an agreement and set specific dates and hours for visitation, holiday parties, and other celebrations.
3. Let Your Children Know the Plan
The best thing you can do to prevent intense arguments and hurt feelings is to be open with your children. Explain to them exactly what they can expect this holiday season. Be detailed and go over the plan—whether that means Christmas Eve with your ex-spouse, Christmas morning with you, and a neutral spot for New Years.
No matter what you plan to do, make sure you keep your kids informed. If they know what to expect, they will be less likely to get upset. You may also want to take some time to sit down with them and explain why this is happening—and that it is not their fault.
The holidays are particularly rough for families that are in the process of a divorce—or those who have already finalized the separation. It is especially tough on children. These tips, along with a skilled family law attorney, can help you ensure that your holiday season is filled with joy for you and your children—and not dread.