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During the holidays, divorced parents would be wise to set aside differences

The holidays are traditionally a time when families come together to celebrate and participate in annual traditions. The holidays are often especially important to children who eagerly anticipate having time off of school and spending time with family and friends. For parents who are recently divorced or going through a divorce, the holiday season can stir up many difficult emotions.

This time of year especially, divorcing or divorced parents would be wise to set aside their differences and focus on making the holidays a special and happy time for shared children. To accomplish this goal, parents would be wise to discuss holiday plans well in advance and work to come to a mutually-agreeable solution with regard to when each parent will have the children.

Parents should also communicate about the types and costs of any gifts they plan to give their children. Doing so can prevent one parent from trying to one-up the other. In addition to solidifying plans related to physical custody during the holidays, parents should also try to minimize the amount of time one's children are forced to travel in the car to visit relatives. Just like a recently divorced or separated parent, children are also likely to experience some sadness and difficulty in adjusting to spending time away from one parent during the holidays. It's important, therefore, that each parent does his or her best to spend quality one-on-one time with a child.

In addition to caring and providing for one's children during this time of year, an individual who is going through a divorce or spending their first holiday as a divorcee should take time for themselves. Eating healthy, getting enough sleep, exercising and a bit of pampering can go a long way in helping an individual feel more confident and happy. Yes, this holiday season will be different from those of the past, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Source: Bradley Hospital, "Dealing with Divorce During the Holidays," 2014

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