According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are an estimated 4 million divorced parents in the U.S. With the holiday season upon us, it’s worthwhile to explore the topic of how some sources recommended that divorced families work through the holidays with the kids in mind.
Maybe this is a family’s first holiday after divorce, or maybe it’s been several years since the split was official. But even families who have been divorced for years can benefit from adjusting their expectations around the holiday, especially as kids grow up:
Kids deserve a shot at a joyous holiday
Sure, our kids do understand and feel a lot more than they might let on about divorce, but they are still kids. They want and need this time of year to feel special, fun and magical. Parents might be feeling a bit more emotional than normal, making it hard for them to enjoy the celebration as in years past, but both parents’ focus should be on how to make the holidays happy for the kids. A psychologist has found that kids tend to be happier and more willing to spend holidays with parents as they grow older if the parents healthily communicate with each other.
Be proactive planners
Even if one parent is schedule-obsessed and the other isn’t, both parents need to work together to agree on how to share the kids during the holidays. This sort of arrangement can be in a custody agreement, or parents can simply put together a schedule in writing and agree to it, for the sake of the kids. Stick to the plans and keep bickering at a minimum. And never argue about the plans in front of the children.
When it comes to Christmas, let’s be honest, kids are all about Santa and the presents that they receive. Kids don’t always understand that one parent can’t afford as much as the other, so it is wise for parents to work together in coming up with a fair gifting strategy. It’s suggested that parents set spending limits and make sure that they are not simply trying to outdo each other to buy their kids’ love.
These are just a few of many pieces of advice about how to keep the holidays happy for kids after a divorce. If you have more tips, please feel free to share. Have a happy holiday.
CNN: “Holiday survival guide for divorced parents,” Katia Hetter, Dec. 21, 2011