By Jeremy White
The popular saying goes like this: “Breaking up is hard to do.” Yet, when it comes to marriage in the U.S., a large percentage of us do it. Divorce, however unpleasant, is commonplace in today’s society, and dealing with it during the holidays is a fact of life with which adults and children alike must deal.
A divorce – especially a fresh one – can be particularly trying during the holidays. The Yuletide season is one of giving and family, and the dissonance of a divorce can greatly threaten the joy of the season. The challenge to adults is to keep Christmas spirits high for the children. Just because a relationship has been ruined doesn’t mean a child’s Christmas has to be ruined as well. Here are some tips for making sure that doesn’t happen this holiday season.
Put Your Kids First – Christmas is a selfless season. It’s a time when we focus on charity. Keep it that way. Think not of yourself or how to “one-up” your ex-spouse. Instead, focus on the needs of your kids. Ask yourself what you can do to ensure the holidays are happy and productive for them. Then do it.
Buy Your Ex a Gift – As much as kids love getting gifts, they also want to be part of the giving. They revel in the opportunity to give both mommy and daddy a gift or two, and it’s up to you to help make that possible. Your little one has no money and no transportation, so the only way they’re getting your spouse a gift is if you suck it up and take them Christmas shopping. Don’t be the parent that’s too proud to buy your ex a gift. It’s the child you’ll end up hurting anyway.
Don’t Hog the Kids – There may be a custodial agreement in place where the kids spend Christmas with mommy one year and then with daddy the next. Everyone loses when that happens. Unless mommy and daddy live too far apart, there is no reason the kids can’t see both. Perhaps they spend the majority of Christmas Eve at one place, then move to the other to spend the night and wake up on Christmas morning. Next year reverse roles so that both parents have the opportunity to watch the little ones wake up on Christmas morning and see what Santa left them. See what you can work out with your spouse. Remember, do what’s in the best interest of the child.
Don’t Take the Phone Off the Hook – When it isn’t possible for one parent to see the children on Christmas for whatever reason, don’t shut them out completely. Let the kids call them to say “Merry Christmas.”
Old Habits Die Hard – Since Christmas is about family traditions, a divorce naturally fractures those traditions. That’s especially hard on the kids. When it’s possible to maintain an old tradition, such as helping mommy make cookies or helping daddy select a tree, do so. When it’s not, start new traditions with your kids. They need them.
Don’t Bad-Mouth Your Ex – If you need to complain about your ex, do so to your adult friends – and don’t do it in the presence of your children. No matter how you feel about your ex, your children still love them and look up to them. Don’t hurt your kids by badmouthing their mommy or daddy.
Brought to you by Imaginary Greetings, a regular contributor of valuable family oriented content. Learn how to truly light up your child’s eyes this holiday season like never before with a letter from Santa.
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