Holidays are stressful under the best of conditions. If you have finalized your divorce or just started the separation process, then the holiday stress can be exponentially higher. In addition, if you have young children, you are now dealing with the issue of who is going to spend what holidays with whom.
A divorce is an emotional time, and it could take a long time for those emotional scars to heal. If your divorce was highly adversarial, then there may not be any willingness to work with your ex-spouse to allow the holidays to be the fun family gatherings that they should be.
Make it about the children.
When dealing with your ex-spouse concerning the holidays, remember that Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and Christmas are all fascinating times for kids. They get to see family and friends they may not see regularly. They get to play with cousins that might live far away, and they get to open presents and run around laughing and screaming as kids do. So let the holidays be about the kids. Don't use the children as a pawn in the chess match of your post-divorce issues with your ex.
Divorce is difficult for children. They are dealing with mommy and daddy no longer living in the same place. Often they are dealing with living in a new place and going to a new school. Their weekends are no longer what they used to be because both you and your spouse are sharing parenting time. These are issues that can cause a great deal of stress and anxiety in children. The holidays should be a time for fun. Whatever the issues are, short of severe physical, emotional, or substance abuse, the issues aside for the holiday season.
Kids are each other's support.
If you have multiple children, they may fight and argue about who is playing with the other's toys, but your kids are there for each other when it comes to issues like divorce. Let the children all go together if you decide that the kids will be with you for Thanksgiving and your ex-wife or husband for Christmas. After a divorce, the extended family may find it awkward, and the divorce may come up in conversation. Even if they do not realize it, your kids provide emotional support and familiarity to each other. In most cases, they should be together than be split up during the holidays.
Keep it positive
Not having your kids with you on Christmas may be one of the most emotionally difficult things you can imagine at the time. When it comes to saying good-bye to your kids as they go to your ex's family, give them a big smile, an enormous hug, and wish them the happiest time they can have.
Make a schedule in advance.
For the first holidays after a divorce, you might not have overthought about the holiday schedule, and you did things at the last minute. Plan your holidays. This has several benefits. First, if you have it planned, it will be less stressful when the time times. You will have planned for it. If your kids are scheduled not to be with you on the Thursday of Thanksgiving, then you can plan to move your celebration to the weekend. This can free up many people, including siblings who are married and have to figure out how to get family and their in-laws. This also gives your kids the opportunity to celebrate twice. Double Bonus! The same goes for Christmas, except for going to church on that day. However, Families can make dinner and presents anytime! If you are Jewish, Hanukkah offers a built-in solution being eight days long. When it comes to a family gathering, there are many options.
The critical thing to remember is that the holidays are about the kids. While going through a divorce, they have gone through plenty of emotional times. So let them enjoy the holidays, and if you plan it out in advance, you will be able to enjoy the holidays as well.
At the Law Offices of Anthony LoPresti, we wish all of you an easy time through the upcoming holidays. If you have just started your divorce process, call our offices to discuss issues such as custody and parenting time. We are here for you with a free consultation. You can reach our office at 516-252-0223.