During and after divorce it’s important to remember your children
did not sign on to be your football.
Many parents put their children right in the middle of their mess out of
anger and pain. My advice? Don’t! Your children don’t deserve
to be mistreated because you are in pain.
The holiday season will be coming up in the next few months and it’s
time to think about the children and their needs and some survival techniques.
Here are some tips for surviving the holidays and being the best parents
you can be to your children. They deserve it! So do you!
- BE FLEXIBLE:
Try to cooperate with each other and do what is needed for both you and
your spouse or ex-spouse so that you can both spend happy, quality time
with your children. Consider having a civil conversation about what you
both have in mind for the holidays and how time with the children can
be shared with each of you and extended family members. Don’t wait
'til the week of Thanksgiving to have this conversation.Start talking now!
- PROVIDE STABILITY:
Once you have made some decisions, present a united front in telling the
children together (if possible) what the plans are going to be. Make them
feel that everything is worked out and it’s going to be a good holiday
season because mom and dad have figured it out.
This will provide tremendous stability and comfort to your children. It
will ease their anxiety and their concerns about mom and dad getting along
during the holidays. Children think about holidays and how mom and dad
are going to feel if they are alone. Don’t put them in the middle
of that mess. Give them peace of mind that everything will be okay even
though you are no longer together.
- CREATE A PARENTING PLAN:
If you don’t have a parenting plan you may want to consider having
one. You can develop one informally if you are communicating well or you
can have your attorney or mediator help create one. A parenting plan is
a blueprint for how you are going to navigate spending time with your
children. Parenting agreements can be a simple road map. Once you have
it in place and on autopilot, you won’t have to stress over everything.
Try one if you don’t already have one. It can make your life a lot easier.
- TOLERATE THE NEW SIGNIFICANT OTHER:
Life goes on after divorce. If you or your ex-spouse are dating, don’t
make it an issue. Try to open yourself to accepting that someone new will
eventually enter both your lives. During the holidays this can be delicate
but not if you think and plan for it. Try to have an open discussion with
each other about the role the new significant other will play in the lives
of your children. Introducing a new partner is a big and important decision.
Incorporating new partners into the family structure is delicate, especially
during the holidays. I sometimes suggest the aid of a therapist to help
in this introduction and transition. If you need help with this, don’t
be afraid to ask for it. A professional can make some great suggestions
on how to speak with the children so everyone is more comfortable.
- YOU WILL GET PAST THIS!
I know divorce is painful and draining. I see pain in many of my clients
and I always say, “This will pass.” It does, and it will.
Be kind to yourself while going through your divorce. It is like grief.
There is happiness on the other side of all the legal and emotional issues.
Your children feel pain too! The holidays only make it harder, but in
the best interest of the children, try!
If you would like to discuss/create a parenting plan I am happy to help.
Parenting plans can really provide stability and sanity. How one is crafted
can make all the difference in being able to productively implement one.
Call to schedule your free consultation through the month of October and
I will be happy to explain parenting plans work. 212.734.1551.