Holidays and Divorce.
The holiday season is fast approaching. Family, food, fun and cheer, right? Maybe not so much for anybody this year with the global pandemic still going strong and suggestions by our local leaders to keep gatherings to a minimum. For families of divorce there is even more to consider as this time of year which can spell added conflict being overwhelmed by the obligations and expectations attached to the season.
I think it helps to keep in perspective why and what we are celebrating. The current state of the world has allowed many people to turn inward and ask the deeper questions of what really matters. Why do you celebrate? Does the holiday hold any deeper meaning? Do you remember celebrating as a child and want to pass the traditions down to your own kids?
Perhaps you have a smaller budget this year due to the division of your household into two. That’s okay. If we focus on the heart of the holiday and lower expectations on the superficial-gifts, big feasts or elaborate parties, the holidays can be enjoyed with our kids in its purest form.
On that same note, don’t put too much pressure on yourself to wow your kids or family and friends. Do what feels right for you. Don’t create impossible expectations. Kids can sense when their parents are overburdened and that will permeate down to them.
Of course, one of the most important things you need for a successful holiday season with your co-parent is communication. You both should be able to discuss what’s best for the kids in an open, respectful and honest way. Come up with a solid plan and stick to it. You may not love everything about it but compromise is key when dealing with your co-parent. Maybe if they see you sacrificing one day of the holiday, further down the road they will be more likely to make considerations for you.
Kids love both of their parents and the holidays are a wonderful time to come together as a family. If you can keep that truth and recognize this for your child in your actions it’s a great gift to them. For example, helping them get their dad’s Christmas present or baking a cake for them to bring to mom’s thanksgiving celebration.
Another factor that allows kids to thrive is consistency. If they know what to expect and become accustomed to certain holiday traditions this will instill confidence in them and create positive memories that will last a lifetime. It takes a lot of hard work and trust but the payoff for co-parents in happy and healthy children is worth it. Happy holidays to all!