Holidays can be stressful for the most perfect traditional families. So it isn’t any surprise that tempers flare and custodial battles are sparked in the homes of divorcing and divorced couples at Christmas. That said, there are many tips and tricks that parents can use to avoid seasonal blowups and keep a festive feeling in the air.
According to clinical psychologist Dr. Ruth A. Peters, kids will benefit if their parents follow these recommendations:
- “Keep it civil – If there is animosity between ex-spouses, give the kids a break for the holidays (if not forever) and be civil. If relations don’t see eye-to-eye, fake it for the kids — you don’t need to bring up the skeletons in the closet or air the dirty laundry one more time.”
- “Consider and coordinate the gift-giving — cooperation is key – Try to keep it equal if possible. Remember, the holidays are about family, love and some presents — it shouldn’t be a materialistic free-for-all.”
- “Be accommodating with your schedules – Try to be flexible if it really doesn’t harm your own holiday plans, and if the kids voice a desire to visit with both sides of the family.”
- “Follow the rules – Respect the rules and your ex’s time alone with the children. Your time with the kids is your own, and their time with the ex is equally private.”
- “Respect the other parent’s religious practices – If possible, try to take into account your ex’s religious preference, especially if it is different than yours.”
- “Begin your own holiday traditions – Make it different, fun and memorable.”*
Now I know what you’re thinking, but remember, you’re doing these things for your children and their happiness is worth it.