The holiday season is often a stressful time. Attending family gatherings and getting that ‘perfect’ gift keep us busy. For children in families going through a divorce, the transition will be especially difficult. Although no single strategy works all the time, there are things you can do to minimize the stress upon your children.
1. Know Your Limits
You may not be able to enjoy things commonly done in the past. Recognize any limitations that may exist due to present financial situations, court orders, or other domestic arrangement restrictions that might be in place.
2. Collaboratively Plan in Advance
Whenever possible, plan far in advance so all parties know the best way to schedule visits around work commitments. Doing so reduces the chance of last-minute misunderstandings. Remain flexible and keep an open mind. Keep conversations among adults professional and businesslike for the sake of the kids, with the goal of having a clear understanding of roles, responsibilities, and expectations for both parents. Let kids know where they will be and with whom they will stay.
3. Minimize Conflict and Emphasize Compromise
Since the parents are the adults, they should try to cooperate rather than compete. Always consider what works best for the children, even if that means they will be at another home on a special day. Despite temptations, refrain from fights or conflict that will make the kids uncomfortable or feel pressure to take sides.
Visitation for separated and divorced couples is a sensitive issue. If there is a disagreement, place the interests of the children first. If they are away on a special day, think about the time you do spend with them rather than their absence of that moment. Never try to “out-do” others by purchasing flashy gifts to make them look bad or cheap, or in a quest to undermine their authority.
Avoid sending signals that will confuse or upset the kids. You may want to encourage or assist them in making something or purchasing a gift for the other party. By doing this, you send a clear message of love and respect to your children. Putting the kids first also involves conversations and ground rules involving the extended family so that a comment or act by a grandparent or cousin does not unravel the hard work you have done to make this season special for your kids.
4. Include Everyone in the Conversation
Throughout the process, give your kids a chance to express their thoughts. While making decisions may be best for younger children, teenagers may want to have more input about where they want to stay. Regardless, by communicating with them through your words and actions, you create an environment where less stress is placed upon them.
5. Maintain Stability and Start New Traditions
Maintain beloved family traditions whenever possible. If the children love hanging stockings, let them hang them at both houses. Also, start new enjoyable traditions so your children will know it is their special time of the year.
6. Take Care of Yourself
Take care of yourself. Reach out to others in your social network if you need support, feel stress, or find it challenging to control your emotions. While the compromises you have made may seem difficult, your kids will appreciate the love and stability you bring to them.
Salt Lake City, Utah Divorce Lawyer David Pedrazas Can Help
David Pedrazas represents clients in with compassion brings extensive experience to assist you during difficult times. Our Salt Lake City firm has helped others and we are here to assist you. Contact the Law Office of David Pedrazas today. Give us a call at 801-263-7078.