by Dan Couvrette
Co-parenting after divorce is always stressful and awkward, and rarely more so than during the Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and Christmas holidays. That’s when tension or conflict between you and your ex-spouse threatens to undo your children’s expectations of fun and a loving environment. Divorce Magazine and DivorceMagazine.com, which have provided first-rate divorce information and resources for more than 13 years, understand this — and have suggestions on how to make things easier.
“No divorcing person needs to be told how important their children are,” says Dan Couvrette, the publisher and CEO of Divorce Magazine and DivorceMagazine.com. “But every divorcing person needs to be reminded of how their words and actions can negatively or positively affect their children.”
- Among the issues you and your children may be worried about this holiday season:
- Which parent will have access to the children, and when?
- Are the children afraid you’ll see them as “disloyal” if they have fun at your ex’s home?
- Will you or your spouse allow your bitterness or competition to infect the holiday spirit?
Will the children miss the other parent when they are with you?
- Of course the holidays will never be the same from now on, but Divorce Magazine and DivorceMagazine.com offer a few general tips to make the best of the new situation:
- Plan ahead. Having a secure schedule in place for when the children will be with whom will ease their anxiety and help any transitions between parents move smoothly.
- Have the best holiday you possibly can under the circumstances. Invite family and friends over, play games, watch holiday-themed movies, eat, drink, and be merry. Show your children that whatever has happened to the family, you still love them and want to share holiday cheer with them.
- Don’t say nasty things about the other parent. Parental alienation is always bad, and you don’t want your children to feel guilty or conflicted about spending holiday time at your ex’s house.
- Be civil, even kind. Let your ex have their quality time with the children, and don’t argue about it or interfere. They have as much right for time with the children as you do.
- Sympathize. Your children may be very sad that their parents can’t both be there to celebrate. Let them know it’s okay to feel that way. Don’t pressure them to act happy if they don’t honestly feel it.
Dan Couvrette is the founder, CEO and publisher of Divorce Magazine. He is remarried and resides in Toronto, Ontario, Canada with his wife. He has two adult children from his first marriage.
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