The holidays are stressful for most people, but they are particularly challenging when divorce is an issue. In addition to the emotional effects, you and your former spouse must also develop a visitation schedule that works for everyone.
The key is to enter into the situation with a clear plan in place. The Child Mind Institute recommends the following holiday tips for divorced parents.
Compromise when necessary
Scheduling over the holidays is often difficult. Between work and social obligations, you might find it difficult to come to an agreement with your ex when it comes to visits with your kids. In this case, a little flexibility can go a long way. Do not hesitate to compromise when necessary, as doing so can ease tension and stress for all involved.
Avoid putting your kids in the middle
You naturally want to spend quality time with your children over the holidays, and your ex-spouse probably feels the same. When disputes arise about scheduling, do not put your children in the middle. Make decisions that are in their best interest, and keep all heated debates and discussions behind closed doors. Also, do not use your children as go-betweens or intermediaries, as this can provide extremely stressful for them.
Do what works best for you
While some divorced parents are fine celebrating the holidays together, others might find this arrangement uncomfortable and awkward. Establishing a united front is beneficial for children, but only if you can refrain from arguing in front of them. In this case, consider what you are capable of and how likely it is you can spend time with your ex without a major issue arising. If you truly believe you cannot enjoy the holidays together, it is much better to spend time with your kids separately.
The holiday season is hard for divorced parents, but by taking the right steps, you can mitigate the fallout. You can also reduce a lot of conflict and resentment that accompany disagreements about child-rearing schedules.