Divorces are not always linear but, eventually, you get to that “year of firsts.” Right now, many families are easing nervously into their first holiday season since the parents split. It’s an awkward time of missing traditions and separation from loved ones.
Counselors in another state had some suggestions for families struggling to co-parent over the holidays.
1. Communicate with your co-parent
Holidays are tough for many people for various reasons. Toss divorce into the mix and an already fraught situation could become volatile. That’s not the memories of the holidays that you want to imprint upon your kids’ young minds.
2. Try to handle communications without acrimony
If the wounds are new and the anger level still is running high, one technique when dealing with co-parents who try to pick fights is called grey-rocking. Give brief answers of “yes” and “no” and don’t deviate from your sole common objective – the continued welfare of your children.
3. Help your kids reconcile the differences between 2 homes
Holiday traditions can continue, but they will forever be different. Incorporate as many of the same elements as possible to ensure continuity. But don’t be afraid to begin new holiday rituals or at least update the old ones to reflect the current circumstances.
4. Take the pressure off yourself
If this is your first holiday season without your spouse and children, you may feel bereft. Please don’t be hard on yourself. Go home to your relatives or head down to the Keys for fun in the sun or go find some powder and ski the slopes.
Amend custody when it no longer works for you
Sometimes families outgrow their initial custody arrangements. Tweaking the terms can keep everyone compliant once the new plan is filed and signed by the court.