Tips for the Holidays!
Children of divorced parents can start to become stressed as the Christmas holiday and breaks from school approach. Parents getting along and exchanges going smoothly are on the top of their wish list.
Here are a few ways parents can ease their child(ren)’s mind during the holiday season:
- Don’t put emphasis on your “lack” of time with them. As parents, of course you want to spend as much time as possible with your children and, especially during the holidays, sharing time can be upsetting. However, focusing your time and energy on expressing your displeasure about the schedule during the holidays can ruin your time as a family and make your children feel unnecessarily guilty for “leaving you.” Focus on enjoying the time you do have with them over all else.
- Don’t make the exchange a big event. Exchanges can be a source of extreme stress for the children involved for a multitude of reasons. Maybe the drive itself can be long or traffic heavy. Maybe there have historically been issues surrounding what the child may or may not pack with them to go to the other parent’s house. Or, perhaps, there is merely always conflict between the parents at exchanges. Regardless, try to mitigate these issues for their holiday exchanges. Be positive about the drive, regardless of if you are the parent doing the driving. Try to allow your child some grace as it relates to bringing new clothes, toys, etc. they received for the holiday to the other parent’s house. Imagine how it must feel to get your dream toy one day and have to leave it the next! And, although you cannot control the other parent, do your best to steer clear of conflict. Nothing is getting worked out on Christmas Day, so table it and come back to it later.
- Encourage them to have fun with the other parent. Ask questions! Nothing is worse than when a child feels they cannot be excited about the time they spent with the other parent, especially over the holidays. The holidays are meant to be an exciting time where families get to bond and enjoy extended time together. Encourage your child to talk about the time they spent with the other parent or time that they are planned to spend with the other parent. Ask them about the gifts they received or the food that they ate. Let them know it is perfectly acceptable to be happy to spend the holidays with both sides of their family. Not feeling like they have to censor their excitement will allow your children to truly enjoy the holidays in the most stress-free way possible.
Happy Holidays from Weinberg & Schwartz, LLC.