If you and your husband are recently separated, you may be facing some unique challenges during the upcoming holidays. It is only natural that your children will want to spend time with both of you. This means that you will have to work with your future ex-husband so that your children can enjoy happy holidays, free from the stress of your impending divorce.
The good news is that it is entirely possible to avoid major issues during the holidays while navigating the new joint custody arrangement. With a little advanced planning and flexibility, you and your children can enjoy the fall and winter holiday season.
Your problems are not your children’s
If you are still experiencing anger, loss, confusion or depression in regard to your upcoming divorce, you should keep these feelings separate from your children. Any problems you have with their father are not their problems. This means you should avoid making negative comments about your ex in front of your kids or using them to communicate with him. The same holds true for friends and family members. If your sister has never been a big fan of your husband, she should keep her comments out of earshot of your kids.
Listen to your children
You are not the only one experiencing a wide range of emotions. Your children are probably feeling hurt and confused as well. Let them be open with you about their emotions without yours getting in the way. If your children are not sharing verbally, look for other signs of stress. For example, if your oldest is not sleeping or eating the way he did prior to the split, then he might need someone to talk to about his feelings.
Make a plan
When it comes to working out a holiday schedule, or any custody schedule, planning is key. You will have to communicate with your ex to work out drop-off and pick-up times, what presents each of you will buy, and everything in between. You may have to be flexible with certain parts of the schedule, so be sure you remain open to compromise.
Keep it fun
Keep the holidays as a time your kids look forward to. This might mean creating new traditions, such as watching a special movie together, reading a holiday story, or something else that you can all do together. No matter what the activity is, keep it fun and make those moments count.
The holidays do not have to be overly stressful for separated parents when they plan ahead and keep the kids as the main focus. When working on your holiday plan, keep the above tips in mind. Also, if you do not already have one in place, you may want to consider pursing a court ordered child custody agreement.