The holidays are a time of love and family.  However, oftentimes, the family we all know changes-parents separate or divorce.  A dynamic we once knew to be our norm becomes completely foreign.  These changes are most difficult to adjust to during the holidays.   So how do you make it easier for you and your children to adjust to your new norm?

  1. Do learn and understand your children’s holiday visitation schedule in advance.  Communicate with your co-parent and understand what the visitation schedule will be for the holidays far in advance of the holidays.  If you and your co-parent disagree or are having a hard time understanding the court order or decree, consult with counsel.  The last thing you want is for there to be an argument in the middle of the holidays over which parent your children should be with.
  2. Do create new traditions.  In your previous norm, you and your children had holiday traditions that you followed.  Start some new traditions, this will let your children know that the holidays will always still be fun and full of love and family.
  3. Do sit back and enjoy the cookies and milk.  In the process of creating a new normal for you and your children, don’t forget to enjoy the cookies and milk for yourself as well.  Just because you are getting a divorce, or are divorced, does not mean that you do not get to enjoy the holidays.  Take it slowly, enjoy your new norm, relax.
  4. Do not buy your children’s affection during the holidays.  Don’t go overboard with the gifts for your children.  With every divorce comes a sense of guilt when children are involved.  By going overboard on the gifting, you are not acting in the best interest of your child.  You want to create a new normal for your children.  Make that normal one in which you are not spoiling them.  Giving more gifts to your children will not make them love you more than your co-parent.
  5. Do not ask your children what they did with your co-parent for the holidays.   This is very stressful for your children.  They do not want you to think they enjoyed spending time with one parent over the other.  Do not put them through this.  Enjoy your time with them, enjoy your holiday with them.

Above all else, never forget that the holiday season goes far beyond gifts and decorations.  Cherish the holiday season, cherish your family, and cherish yourself.