The holidays are often a tough time for co-parents who are learning how to deal with the new dynamics of their family. Although it might seem a little early to start preparing for the months ahead, getting started now can help reduce your stress and help ensure everyone can find something to smile about this season.
Celebrating the Most Wonderful Time of the Year
There is a lot of pressure to have a happy holiday. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve are all about spending time with friends and family, so it is understandable that this can be a particularly stressful time for divorced families.
That said, you can still have a joyous time this year, regardless of the recent changes your family endured. Try not to sweat the details and remember that your children’s needs always come first. They are likely having the most difficult time coping with your divorce, so do what you can to minimize their stress and anxiety.
Here are some tips to help you prepare for the upcoming holiday season:
- Be willing to create new traditions: Almost nothing is the same after a divorce. Many of the things you did with your children were done as a family and included your spouse. Instead of mourning the loss of past traditions, celebrate and embrace the new traditions you will create with your children. You can even let them make suggestions, turning this into a collaborative effort.
- Engage in self-care: There will undoubtedly be some days when your co-parent will have the children and you will have to spend the evening alone. Do not dwell on feelings of loneliness or despair. Instead, take this well-earned time alone to care for yourself. Get a nice bottle of wine for yourself and watch a fun holiday movie. If staying in is not your cup of tea, then plan a night out with friends. Self-care can have a different meaning for each individual, so find out what it means to you.
- Be flexible and open to compromise: You have a parenting plan in place, but that does not mean obstacles will not arise. The holidays are a hectic time, regardless of anyone’s marital status, so flexibility is crucial. On some occasions, you might need to swap days and, the less obstinate you are, the more likely it is your co-parent will exhibit the same level of goodwill you provide.
- Do not compete: If exchanging presents is part of your family’s traditions, do not turn it into a competition. Gift-giving should come from the heart rather than from a place of jealousy or vindictiveness. Consider what you can afford, what will make your children happy, and what is in their best interests. A fancy gift might excite them for a while, but it will never buy their affection.
Never forget – the holidays are a time for joy and love, so cherish the time you have with your children.
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