For many people, the upcoming holiday season will be their first without a spouse. Couples who have divorced in 2019 may see the holiday season as challenging instead of joyous, especially when faced with financial and child-related concerns.
However, there are some important things to consider to maintain your holiday spirit, especially when children are involved. Divorce is hard enough on kids, so during this time of year, it is even more critical to put children first.
There are some important considerations for divorced or divorcing West Michigan parents in order to preserve the holiday joy for their children.
Keep the Kids Out of the Middle
Children should never be used as pawns. Many are already struggling with the situation and should never be made to feel like pieces in a chess match. Remember to base decisions on their mental and physical wellbeing first and foremost.
It is also important to avoid discussing the other parent in front of the children. They should never hear disparaging comments about their mother from their father in the middle of a holiday gathering.
Get in the Spirit
It is easy to harbor anger and resentment during a difficult divorce, but the holidays are a time of joy and parents should do their best to get in the spirit. Try not to skimp on the decorations or keep your Christmas tree or menorah in the box just because you are not in the mood.
This is the time to put your children front and center and get in the spirit, even if only for them.
The Holidays are Not a Competition
For most divorced or divorcing couples, money has played a part in their stress and strife. It is easy to think that a child’s love can be purchased by buying bigger, more expensive gifts than the other parent, but the holidays should not be a competition.
It is also important to remember the rules. If children are not allowed to have a particular item, such as a cell phone or other electronics, purchasing it behind the other parent’s back can only lead to further conflict with children almost undoubtedly caught in the middle.
Celebrations and Social Gatherings
Holiday celebrations and social gatherings present unique issues, especially school concerts and parties or other events where children are the focus. During these times, it is important to make sacrifices for the children and put conflict aside.
You do not need to sit together, especially if doing so leads to heightened stress or animosity; however, children should be able to see both parents in the audience at their school play.
It’s a Holiday, Not a Road Trip
The holidays should be a time of celebration, not an exhausting odyssey across the state. Children should not dread the holidays because it means spending the day traveling between parents, grandparents and extended family homes.
Make the effort to coordinate and compromise so the kids can enjoy the day without spending most of it in the car. If there is one time all year to meet in the middle, this is it.
The holidays present unique challenges for both parents and children involved in a divorce. It is important to make compromises wherever necessary to put the children’s needs first and foremost.
If you are considering divorce, please take the time to investigate all of the available options before proceeding with any legal action. Please consult with the Grand Rapids area divorce attorneys at Johnsen Wikander and let us help you through your most difficult time.