Thanksgiving is usually a time for families to come together, however, divorce often makes this task difficult or even impossible. Recent divorcees with children have a particularly challenging time. Parents often have to find ways to make the holiday feel normal, despite the divorce. Nevertheless, both parents should work together to build a positive holiday experience for their family by learning how to successfully co-parent.
Importance of Co-Parenting During the Holidays
In most families, holidays are a time where families come together, but divorce will likely make this impossible. Holidays are often a confusing time for children, especially if it is their first holiday apart. Parents should work together to make the best holiday for their children.
Children learn a lot from their parents and the ways they behave. Therefore, it is crucial that parents are on their best behavior around their children, especially during the holidays. Children can pick up on one parent’s tension and anger toward the other parent, which will further strain their relationship. Parents who talk badly about each other can set a bad example for their children. This will create lasting problems with a child’s self-esteem. To avoid this, parents should work toward a healthy co-parenting relationship, especially during the holidays.
How can I Handle the Holiday Custody Schedule?
Divorce makes it difficult for children to see both of their parents during the holidays, therefore, it is crucial that both parents work together to make a holiday custody schedule. This schedule will help give children some consistency during the holiday season and ensure that both parents and their extended families get an adequate amount of time with their children.
Parents have a lot of choices when building their holiday custody schedule. One common choice is to alternate holidays. Alternating holidays is a simple process that allows both parents to see their children during the biggest holidays of the year. A spouse often chooses to see their child on a specific holiday in even years, while their ex-spouse gets them during odd years.
Another choice for parents is to assign fixed holidays. Fixed holidays allow parents to see their children on the same holidays each year. This is a particularly good choice for parents who celebrate different holidays, like Hanukkah and Christmas. This gives children a sense of normalcy.
Another option is to split holidays. This option allows both parents to spend a portion of the holiday with their children. For instance, the children may spend the morning with one parent and the night with the other. This is a great option for parents who live in close proximity to each other. Splitting holidays may be a nice transitional choice for the first holiday after divorce.
Additionally, many parents choose to double holidays. Doubling holidays allows both parents to spend the holidays with their children. Parents often choose to have their children spend the actual holiday with one parent and the other to pick a date close to the holiday to celebrate. This is a good option for parents who have a hard time sharing custody during holidays. It also allows the children to see both sides of their extended family during each holiday event.
What are Some Helpful Co-Parenting Tips?
Some parents may look for insight on how to build a healthy co-parenting relationship. Co-parenting during the holidays can be tough, but it is essential for keeping a child-parent relationship intact. It can also help bond the family in new ways, despite the divorce.
One tip for parents is to put their children first. One way to do this is to avoid talking negatively about the ex-spouse. Although it may feel therapeutic at the time, it can leave a lasting impression on the children and make them feel like they have to pick sides. It is just best to avoid doing this in order to keep the children happy and comfortable.
The next tip is to start new traditions. Many families have traditions for Thanksgiving. A child dealing with divorce may feel like they are missing out on their annual traditions. To avoid this, parents should create new traditions. This helps to create a new and positive association to Thanksgiving and other holidays.
Another tip is to acknowledge the child’s feelings. Divorce is often confusing for children. If a child is older, they may also feel resentment toward their parents and about the divorce. Instead of trying to put a positive spin on it, the parent should hear what their child has to say. Sometimes, it is best for the parent to simply validate their child instead of trying to make them feel better. This is beneficial for several reasons; it helps to promote two-way communication and strengthens the bond between the parent and the child.
Help from a Knowledgeable Lawyer
Although it may be difficult to celebrate Thanksgiving after divorce, healthy co-parenting can make it easier for the children. Putting aside differences to support the children’s best interests is the best way to celebrate Thanksgiving. If parents want to make arrangements to existing child custody arrangements, they should contact a divorce lawyer. A lawyer will make sure the children’s bests interests are protected.
Huntsville Divorce Lawyers at Hodges Trial Lawyers, P.C. Help Clients with Co-Parenting Agreements
If you wish to make changes to a current child custody agreement, contact one of our Huntsville divorce lawyers at Hodges Trial Lawyers, P.C. today. We will ensure you are able to spend the holidays with your children. Contact us online or call us at 256-539-3110 for an initial consultation. Located in Huntsville and Athens, Alabama, we serve clients throughout North Alabama, Madison County, Limestone County, Marshall County, Jackson County, Morgan County, and Lauderdale County.