If you are a recently divorced father, you may be approaching the holiday season with a mix of anticipation and apprehension. Of course, this time of year can be magical for children and spending time with them should be filled with laughter and fun. But you may also be harboring some ill-will against your ex. This is normal, but it can also threaten both you and your children’s holiday celebrations. Children can sense tension, and they do not like it when their parents argue or are hostile toward one another.
So, in the interest of going along to get along and keeping the holidays cheerful, it is best to put on a brave face and do what you can to make everything run smoothly. And a university professor of psychology offers the following tips for getting through and even enjoying the holidays:
- Keep lines of communication open with your child’s other parent. By making a quick call or sending an email you can avoid getting your signals crossed about meal schedules or other holiday related matters.
- Establish a plan and stick to it. Create a very specific schedule for exchanges and activities. This way you can avoid disappointments or frustrations that can put a damper on the fun.
- Embrace the holiday spirit. The holiday season can be a time for new beginnings and letting go of old resentments. Giving and forgiving feel much better than hanging on to your anger.
- Remind yourself that the holidays are for everyone, not just you. There may be times when you will be alone while your ex gets to be with the children. Reassure your children that they should have as much fun as possible during this time.
The holidays are for sharing time together and creating special memories. But if your children’s other parent refuses to adhere to the terms of your parenting agreement and denies your visitation rights, you may want to have the matter corrected through legal action. An experienced family attorney can offer advice and guidance on how to resolve the issues as quickly as possible. Remember, every moment that is taken away from your visitation is a missed opportunity for you and your children to bond and grow closer.