If you are in the midst of the divorce process and share kids with your ex, you may be wondering how to manage the holiday season and help your kids enjoy it and feel supported and loved. The divorce process can span several months, so many families are in the midst of a major life change this holiday season. Here are some tips for managing the stress of divorce during the holidays, the change, the newness and the uncertainty:
1. Plan: The holidays are not a time for last minute plans. Go ahead and decide how you are going to spend the time, both when you have your kids with you and when your kids are with your ex. Making concrete plans that you can share with your kids will help you all enjoy the time with less chaos and the unknown.
2. Compromise: You and your ex are the adults in the family, and it is important that you remember that during the divorce process and the holidays. You may not feel like compromising with your ex, but there is no doubt that compromise and peace will benefit your kids, especially during the holiday season. Sacrificing some things for your kids this holiday will make the season more positive and meaningful.
3. Do not make kids feel guilty: Try to shield your kids from the conflict between you and your ex. This may be your first holiday separated and this will be hard for all of you, even if it is the best possible path forward. Avoid negative comments about your ex. Your kids love both of you and should not have to feel guilty about that. Encouraging your kids to make or buy a gift for the other parent is a good example for the future.
4. Get Kid’s Input: Obviously, this tip depends on the age of your children. If they are old enough, ask them about special things that they want to do around the holidays and try to make some of those things happen, either with you or your ex. Your child might have preferences or wishes that will work and allow them to feel heard and valued.
Put your Family First During the Holidays
Divorce is difficult for families and the holidays can heighten this stress. Spending time now thinking about how to manage the time around the holidays will help it be a smooth and successful season of love. For more information about how to manage conflict, improve communication and find areas of common ground, contact Johnson Mediation at 952-401-7599.