Holidays are a time for family, friends and spending time together, but this can be very complicated if you’re divorced and are trying to figure out how to make it a great holiday for your kids. And if it’s your first Christmas after a divorce, there will definitely be challenges.
I still remember my first Christmas after my divorce. I struggled to keep our family routines as close to “normal” as possible, especially for my then-toddler. And honestly, it was very tough - dealing with my own emotions while trying to make the season special for my kids.
So, if you’re going through this, I feel for you right now. It will get better (I know, it doesn’t feel like it, but it will). I do think that with some planning you and your co-parent can create a happy Christmas for your kids, and hopefully these five tips will help.
1. Make Plans in Advance
As the holidays get closer, emotions can get more intense as we often become stressed...
It's that time of year again where many of us are considering how we might be better or do better in the new year with New Year's resolutions. If parenting with your ex has been a significant struggle in your life, I want to challenge you to resolve to be a better co-parent this year. If you don't want to do it for yourself, do it for your children.
Divorce not only takes a toll on the divorcing couple, but it also affects the rest of the family. This is especially evident if you have young children. Even though it's tough to hide the negative feelings that surface during a divorce, it's extremely important that you work at managing those feelings constructively if you don't want them to affect the kids.
Avoid the mistake of believing that your adult problems are too complicated for your children to understand. Although young children may not understand words like "irreconcilable differences," they're very intuitive and impressionable. Even babies can tell when their parents are at...
When you’re trying to co-parent with your ex, it can make things more difficult for you and your child. Successful co-parenting results in happier children, parents who are less stressed, and an overall greater level of contentment after divorce. While it can be difficult to get adjusted to having a healthy and happy co-parenting relationship, use these strategies for overcoming co-parenting conflicts!
The reason you’re doing this is for the one who is most important to you, right? It’s all about your child and making sure they have the healthiest childhood for them. Keep that in mind during any type of conflict and you’ll immediately diffuse the situation with your ex. It’s also important to kindly remind your ex why you are both doing this. By keeping the common denominator, your love for your child, in mind, you’ll make it easier to negotiation and compromise during all conflicts with your...
Telling parents about divorce can be hard enough. I have seen the tension in a divorce increase too many times as a result of meddling family members or friends. During the holidays, we tend to interact with family members and friends more than we do all year long, so there is even more opportunity for meddling than there typically is.
From my professional experience, it is so hard to watch when a couple has committed to handling their settlement in a mature and amicable way, but someone gets in one of their ears and tears the whole thing apart.
When I sit down with my clients who are going through mediation, I always encourage them to keep the conversations that happen in mediation in the mediation room. I know that when you're emotional, you may want to vent to a friend or a family member. However, divorce is a difficult process for everyone who is involved, and a meddling family member can make it even more complicated.
Related post: How to Ask Your Spouse to...
To the Father of My Children, My Partner in Parenting:
I know that I haven't always been grateful. And I know that there was a time in our lives when I could not think of a nice thing to say to you. There was a time when I was filled with so much hurt and anger that gratitude felt like an impossible idea. But that time has passed.
We've had our moments - but we had a lot of good times, too. For more than ten years, you were there for me. You were there for me in the dark hours when my dad was sick, and you were there for me when my father passed away. For that, I am grateful.
You were also there for wonderful memories. We went on trips together, and we grew up together in a lot of ways. We explored new faith communities together. We shared a life together, and for that, I am grateful.
Together, you and I created an incredible family. Words cannot even begin to describe the depth of my gratitude for that....
One of the hardest things to do as a divorced parent is to encourage your kids to go with your ex when they don’t want to. However, consistency is key to making those transitions easier over time. When my ex and I first separated, my youngest was a toddler. We all know how toddlers act when they're not happy. He would throw a tantrum every time he had to transition between our homes. It used to break my heart the way that he would cry and fuss.
As long as the kids aren’t avoiding going due to neglect or abuse, it's your job to encourage them to. Some children don’t do well with change, so the transition between households can be especially difficult. Keep in mind that it doesn't have anything to do with the other parent. You'll be doing your children a favor if you work to make transitioning as smooth as possible.
Use the following tips to encourage your children when...
When I got divorced, I had three children between the ages of three and eight. I remember the stress. I was overwhelmed thinking about how I was going to help my kids get through the divorce and ultimately, how I would manage on my own.
It can be scary to think about how you'll take care of your children after a divorce. There will be many changes on the horizon for everyone. You have to be confident that you can take care of them, even if you have to turn to friends and family members for emotional and financial support. It's also important to remember that taking care of your own needs is vital as you're not going to be able to care for your children if you aren’t taking care of yourself.