Christmas lights are starting to go up in neighborhoods throughout the country, the snow is falling, and people are stocking up on stuffing and other grocery items to prepare for holiday feasts. As these preparations are well underway, some newly divorced families may struggle with an added stress: how to keep the kids happy when the definition of family has changed?
Thankfully, those who find themselves asking this question are not alone. Many other families with all sorts of holiday traditions have already gone through this very same issue. These general tips can help newly divorced families better enjoy the holiday season:
- Be flexible.Yes, this year will be different than previous years—but that is not always a bad thing. Use this as an opportunity to review your traditions and determine which ones are your favorites. If you have children, ask about their favorite traditions as well. Consider making some new traditions to add a special touch to this year’s celebrations.
- Know the rules.For families with children, the details of the celebrations will be governed, at least in part, by the parenting plan. Review the agreement and make sure you understand which days you have with the children. Adjust traditions to fit with this schedule. Reach out to the other parent to compromise always considering what’s in the best interests of the children.
- Mental health experts warn parents that children pick up on their parents’ emotions. If you are feeling stressed and frustrated, the kids will likely notice. Take a breath and find the best in the celebrations. If you relax and enjoy the holidays, your kids are more likely to do the same.
Those who are in the first stages of divorce can take this as a reminder to carefully consider the impact of a parenting plan. This plan will have significant post-divorce impacts. As such, it is a good idea to have legal counsel to better ensure your interests are protected when putting together the plan.