The holidays are here. They bring parties, gifts, extra desserts, traditional
feasts, family gatherings, and….sometimes a host of other, not
so fun elements. For single and divorced parents, the holidays can generate
additional anxieties and conflicts. If you are a single parent or
divorced parent, consider some of the following suggestions. They could assist you as
you attempt to better manage your holiday season so that you can actually enjoy it!
Make a choice to spend time with people who make you feel good –
who lift your spirits. This is a good suggestion all year round, but especially
during the holidays! When you spend time with people that you don’t
enjoy being around (often out of obligation) you will find that your levels
of discomfort for both you and your children skyrocket. It won’t
bode well for your holiday celebrations.
Make sure to set aside some alone time so that you have what you need.
It could simply be a long walk by yourself, lunch with a friend that understands
you, some quiet time listening to your favorite music, etc. Whatever you
need and however long you need it – make sure to fit it in. Not
doing so will leave you more susceptible to anxiety and stress.
Where necessary, discuss holiday plans and “gifts” related
to the season with your ex far in advance of the actual holiday season.
Keep things simple. Scale it down. When possible, let your children actively
involve themselves in the holiday planning.
Run through the upcoming holiday plans with the children and go over any
travel plans with them; particularly if they will be traveling alone.
Acknowledge any fears they may have. It’s natural for them to have
fear or anxiety about upcoming holiday trips.
If you will not be with your children or your extended family for the holidays,
make plans with friends (or other single parents/single parent families
in similar situations).
Attempt to come to an agreement with your ex regarding gift giving and
cost of gifts. Do not attempt to “outdo” your ex by giving
the kids better or more expensive gifts. If your ex lavishes expensive
gifts on your children don’t place the kids in the middle of any
ensuing arguments. Think about making a gift of your time to your kids
– and focusing on making the holidays less materialistic.
Stick to tradition – if you have certain activities you have always
included in the holiday celebrations, keep them in the kids’ lives.
Also consider creating new traditions that may be meaningful in your current
Consider the potential benefit of spreading out various holiday celebrations.
If your children will be with their other parent for the holiday, don’t
be inappropriately sad, upset or disappointed when you send them off for
the visit. They shouldn’t have to spend their holiday feeling conflicted
or guilty because you aren’t able to spend time with them. Try to
sincerely wish them well – encourage them to enjoy their time and
let them know you look forward to seeing them when they return.
If you need additional help with your
during the holiday season, please contact one of the experienced divorce
Arizona Family Law Attorneys
as soon as possible.