As a parent, the holiday season already brings on multiple stressors: get-togethers, travel, budgeting, meal planning and religious practices. Through all of this, your child is home from school and you will have to balance co-parenting with your ex-partner.
The holiday stressors often overburden many, but taking steps to avoid upcoming triggers may serve you and your child well.
1. Write down your child’s wishes.
Ask your child what is the most meaningful and important part of the season for him or her. Work towards these hopes as you make your holiday plans.
If you have multiple children or stepchildren, keep them together for the holidays. Sibling relationships are important for child development and memories. Your child can rely on this bond to help get him or her through difficult life moments like your divorce.
2. Respect the other parent’s needs.
Be prepared to compromise. The other parent might have different spiritual or religious traditions than yours. Keep an open mind about your ex’s practices - your child will learn respect and tolerance by celebrating in various ways.
Taking a neutral stance during your child’s time home will allow him or her to feel attached and comfortable with both parents.
3. Plan out a budget before the holidays.
Prevent anxiety and conflicts during this time of year by budgeting. If you struggle with your finances, you do not want holiday spending stress to cloud your quality time at home with your child.
4. Avoid the blame game.
If your child sees you and your ex constantly fighting or bickering, it will take a toll on his or her mental health. Your child may foster guilty, angry, confused feelings which might take away from the joys of the season.
Overall, if you keep your child’s best interest at the forefront of your parenting decisions over the holidays, your whole family can strive for a more enjoyable season.