We hope that you’re surviving another workweek before the Thanksgiving rush! The holidays are often difficult for families involved in divorce or separation. If this is your first such holiday season you may have a range of emotions and encounter a myriad of parenting time issues. Here are some ideas on how to navigate family dynamics during the holidays: be organized, be flexible and be calm.
Be Organized. Before the holidays, have a written plan of the parenting time and exchanges. The more specific you make your plan, the more problems you can avoid. For example, instead of a parenting plan that reads: “each parent has parenting time with the child every other year” include language that sets forth the specific days and times the parenting time starts and stops and who picks up and drops off the children at what locations.
Be Flexible. Even the best laid plans may need to change. This is a good time of year to be adaptable if things happen suddenly like the children getting sick. In fact, plan on things not going perfectly, they rarely do. The holidays do not have to be perfect, just fun for everyone. Remember it is about the kids!
Be Calm. Many people get stressed over the holidays even when their family is not going through any transitions. Divorce or separation can make it worse. Parents want to make sure their family has fun, the food is perfect, and outfits are well-matched. With stress, some people drink too much. Bad idea. This holiday is time to take a deep breath, go for a run, and focus on healthy activities. Do not spread toxicity to your spouse (even if you feel they deserve it). It is bad for you! This is a good time to start your own holiday traditions and make the holiday enjoyable for you! and your children!