No good parent wants to impart stress, anxiety and ill will in the hearts of the children especially during the holiday season.
Three strategies for negotiating holidays with compassion are:
1 – Listen to the kids. In most situations parent make all the decisions and the children just go along. But what if, they are asked? Would that help? Giving children say helps them feel less like victims and invites them into the discussion. Of course, it depends on how old they are, but even elementary school aged children can be surprisingly astute. Divorce is hard to navigate for everyone, not just for the parents but the kids too. After all, they’re the ones that get shuttled back and forth. So, ask them how they want to spend the holidays. They might have the perfect answer!
2 – Lay your feelings aside. Obviously we all got divorced for reasons. And during the holiday season, it’s easy for some ill will to flair up. So decide, for the sake of the season and the kids, if it’s possible to lay those feelings aside.
3 – Holidays are special. Holidays are supposed to be a time of gratitude and love. The goal is to recognize and honor each person involved and create plans that are in everyone’s good. Be willing to talk about a workable schedule and compromise. It may be mean releasing some control and finding common ground. But in the end, creating a stress free holiday for children of divorce is a gift of love.