You may be separated or divorced but you should still be able to give your children a positive holiday experience.
In a recent family life post, I discussed ways to share the children with your ex over the holidays. Today I’m going to talk about Christmas day and how it may be good for your children to spend some time with both parents together.
Some divorced parents I know have found that spending some time together on Christmas day has been good for the children. Some experts believe it is the greatest gift divorced parents can give their children.
Getting together over the holidays even if it only amounts to a couple of hours on Christmas morning, helps to heal some of the hurt children experience over mommy and daddy not living under the same roof. While this can be a difficult thing to do in the wake of a nasty divorce, it can be done if both parents are willing to make the effort.
Other experts disagree with this way of easing the pain of divorce. Spending time with your ex-spouse over the holidays will certainly make your children happy but if they’re still hoping you’ll get back together – it can spell disaster. Getting together on Christmas day may set your kids up for disappointment unless you take the time to clarify any joint plans that are made. That said, it is a personal choice and you only need to consider what may or may not work in your own situation.
Following are some more tips for making the holidays joyful for all involved.
*Support your ex-spouse by encouraging your children to follow any set rules when they’re visiting the other parent.
*Retain as many familiar holiday traditions as possible. Keep in mind, that holidays aren’t individual days but seasons that present lots of opportunity for celebrating.
*Establish some new traditions within your new family arrangement. Get everyone’s input by starting a dialogue early in the holiday season.
*Take your children out to purchase something symbolic of their new family. It can be as simple as a tree decoration or a new stocking.
*If things are especially tough – try something totally different. Visit a relative for the holidays or if money and time allow, plan a getaway. Sometimes a change of scenery is the best way to get the kids’ minds off of the fact they are one parent short this year.
And finally, if your child is really down – just listen. What she may need is someone to empathize with what she is going through. True, you may not be capable of taking her pain and hurt away but you can give her a hug and reassure her she is loved.