Christmas Tips for the Divorced Parent

Filed under: Divorce & Custody, Holidays

boy in santa hatEnding a romantic relationship usually means you don't see the other party again -- you can excise that person from your life, minimizing the emotional upheaval of having to interact with that person.

Unless, of course, you have kids.

Divorce happens, and at a rate of nearly 50 percent. Many of those marriages include children, and spending time with your ex-spouse during the holidays can be extremely stressful, both for you and for the kids. Because so many more couples are deciding to go with joint physical custody, more blended families are spending Christmas together.

Following a few simple tips can help keep the anxiety and stress to a minimum, for everyone involved:

It's Not About You:
Try to remember that holidays are for children. Be positive about your kids spending time with the other parent, even if it means you might be alone.

Take A Lesson From Scrooge: Gifts don't have to be elaborate to show your love. Don't try to compensate for the divorce with lavish gifts. Kids want your time, love and understanding. They don't want you to spend yourself into oblivion to buy their love.

It's Not A Competition
: Please, for the love of Pete, don't trample anyone to get that "must-have gift" just to upstage your former spouse.

Pay Attention To Details:
Work out, well in advance, exactly how the logistics of the holiday will go. When will the kids be with you? When will they be with their other parent? When will they see their grandparents, and with whom? Knowing the plan helps the wee ones feel secure.

Celebrate Together:
You may not live together anymore, but that doesn't mean you can't open gifts together. Consider having the holidays as a family, albeit as a reorganized one. Don't worry what other people think; remember, it's about the kids.

Most of all, remember that while you may have conflicts with your ex, your kids are innocent and they deserve the best possible holiday you can manage.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.