Winter break can be one of the most difficult times for both children and parents to cope with divorce. We see Christmas and New Years cheer and celebration everywhere as we are dealing with our own internal and external stressors that make the mere sight of such images so painful. However, we must dedicate all of our strength to keep this period of time as happy and stable as possible for our children.
Risa Garon, a licensed clinical social worker, collaborative law mental health professional, and Executive Director of the National Family Resiliency Center, Inc., provides tips for co-parenting during the holidays:
- What can you as a parent handle? Be honest with yourself and how you feel.
- Be honest with your children about your limitations and what you can handle. Approach them in a way that doesn’t burden them with your feelings. Ask them what would help them during the holidays.
- Recognize that rituals are symbolic and often treasured by children and adults. If possible, try to have some of your family’s traditional rituals and include your children in creating new ones.
- Be realistic about your time, your energy and finances. What your children really want is a healthy parent who can share some holiday “cheer” with them. The thrill of gifts dissipates quickly; the memory of a special time together lasts forever.
- Work with your child’s other parent. Instead of competing with who will spend the most money on gifts, if possible, make a priority list together and either divide the list or combine financial resources and get one big gift you can each contribute to and give to your child.
- Consider your child’s age, personality and adjustment to the separation or divorce when planning the holiday. Many children totally dread going back and forth or may be spending their first holiday with both parents separately. Think about what is best for your child and not you and your extended family. Ask relatives to understand and plan dinners and brunches around what works for your children.
- Whether or not you share time with your child’s co parent and your child is up to you and your child’s other parent. Can you be civil to each other, can your children be relaxed and enjoy their time with the two of you? Will your child become confused seeing his parents together?
- Holidays do not have to be celebrated on the actual date! Celebrate at a later time if that works better. Make sure you communicate with your child’s other parent and work out how the holidays will be celebrated months before the actual date.
If you have questions for a Tampa Bay family law attorney regarding divorce or collaborative law and you would like to schedule a consultation, contact The Law Firm of Adam B. Cordover, P.A., at (813) 443-0615 or fill out our online form.