The holiday season will always be different for your family, even if you are on good terms with your ex-spouse. Many divorced parents cannot get along well enough to share a typical holiday. This is one of the reasons people ask, “Should divorced parents spend holidays together?”
Every good parent tries to make holidays perfect for their children, whether they are together or divorced. It is usually challenging for children to be separated from their parents during a holiday or any particular season. Despite this, finding a way to make the holidays perfect for your children is easier said than done.
Should divorced parents spend holidays together
Divorce is never easy for any parties involved, especially when there are children. Just as every marriage is different, every separation or divorce is distinct—divorced parents who did not find the divorce amicable often alternate who gets the children for the holidays. In cases where either or both spouses have remarried, alternating who gets the children during the holidays might be preferable.
Other times, the divorced parents might decide to split their time with the children during the holidays. This is usually effective if both parents are living in the same city. For such arrangements, one parent gets to spend the first half of the day with their child or children, while the other spends the second half with the children.
This usually works for parents who are on good terms. If the exchanges are not smooth and often result in a dispute, it may be better to avoid such arrangements not to ruin the holiday for everyone, especially the children.
If the divorced parents still get along well, they can spend the holidays together, but for many families, alternating or splitting holidays works better.
In situations where the divorce is tough on either or both spouses, and they are not ready to spend time with their ex-spouse, it will be healthier if they spend it apart while alternating with the children, who, between the parents, they get to spend the holidays with.
Parents who can agree to spend the holidays together should ensure that their children understand that they are only together to celebrate the holiday season as a family and that the parents are not reconciling, except they are reconciling.
It is essential to consider which options work better for you and your family instead of following a trend or family traditions that no longer go well for your family.
The main goal should be that your children are comfortable, loved, and cared for. It will be lovely if your children grow up with beautiful memories of every holiday season.
4 Holiday Ideas For Divorced Parents
Trying to recreate an old family holiday can be an intense and emotional time for the whole family. Divorced parents’ holiday arrangements differ from family to family. While it may be difficult for the children to spend their holidays with just one parent, you can do a few things to make the transition easier for the parents and the children involved. They include:
Start New Family Traditions
Adjusting to the change after a divorce might be difficult, but you can take it as an opportunity to create new fun traditions for you and your children to enjoy the holidays better.
Create new family traditions that do not involve both parents. This can be tough on children who are already used to having both parents around during the holiday season. Still, when they have to shuttle between two homes on holidays, it could lead to a hectic schedule on a day that should generally be a carefree, fun-filled period.
If you are not going to spend your holiday with your children, see it as an opportunity to reach out to your friends and other family members. They might even include you and your children, as the case may be, in their holiday plans.
Coordinate Gifts With Your Ex-spouse
You both can chip in together to buy large presents for your children. Some children may find it interesting to get two Thanksgiving or Christmas gifts, but buying gifts for the children should not seem like you, and your ex-spouse are competing. After all, just gifting your child or children will not compensate for the strain the divorce might have cost them.
Also, you may not want to “underbuy” or “overbuy” your ex-spouse when gifting the children. By coordinating gifts, you also show that you are still family, even after the divorce. If any of the parents cannot be present during the holidays, the fact that you remembered to get something for your child or children will show that you care.
Splitting Or Alternating The Holidays
Splitting holidays can be emotionally draining for the children and parents. Some divorced parents might be able to spend holidays together, but it depends on how nasty the divorce was for either.
Other divorced parents may be unable to alternate or split every holiday without spending much money. Parents who live in different cities might spend a lot on their or their children’s travelling expenses.
With these in mind, they might prefer to spend part of the holiday on zoom sessions or face timing their children. Even though this is not as good as being there in person, it can make the parent’s absence a little bit more bearable for the child or children involved.
Things may always go wrong around the holidays. Be adaptable and composed rather than letting the little things upset you if your strategy falters or you forget to incorporate something in your plans. The holidays are meant to be joyful and enjoyable.
Communicate With Your Children
Make sure you keep your children updated on what their plans for the holidays are. If you and your ex-spouse choose to spend the holidays together or apart, be straightforward with the children.
Planning your holiday schedule with your ex-spouse is essential. That way, everyone, including your children, will be prepared for how they will spend the holiday season.
Consider the feelings of your child or children and the memories you are building for them. Try to put the children’s needs first. Keep them in mind whenever you and your ex-spouses are making plans for the holidays.
When You Have To Spend The Holidays Apart
Suppose the reasons leading to your divorce included abuse or the whole divorce process strained either or both ex-spouses emotionally. In that case, they are advised to spend the holidays separately while their children can spend it with any of them.
Always remember that you can still have a wonderful holiday or holiday season with your children even if you cannot do it together with your ex-spouse. If you cannot be with your children during the holiday season, encourage them to enjoy themselves with the other parent. Please encourage your children to be themselves with the other parent. When they come around or get back, encourage them to talk about their experience freely and try to share in their joy.
If the holidays are emotionally charged, and there is tension all around, with the possibility of a fight breaking out, it can end up as a bad memory for your children.
Some divorce decrees involve arrangements for holiday custody. If, at some point, you want to change or adjust it to suit you, your children, or your ex-spouse better, you will need to speak with your lawyer ahead of time. Your lawyer should also be well involved in issues concerning the holiday custody of your children. The lawyer should be there to advise and assist you and your ex-spouse in following the court’s instructions.
If spending the holidays together will not lessen the conflicts or is not beneficial to anyone, especially the children, it is better to split them or pay them alternatively. There might still be some hurt feelings, possibly from old quarrels or previous actions.
An argument can come up during the holidays being spent together, making the possibility of ruining the holidays very high. This would not also be a pleasant experience for the children.
Before divorced parents decide to spend the holidays together, they must consider some of the points stated above. There are other healthy options that you and your ex-spouse can carry out for the benefit of your children.
There is no perfect answer to if “divorced parents should spend the holidays together.” If alternating or splitting the holidays between parents will work better than spending it together, it depends on the family as no divorce cases or family are the same.
Always consider your children’s feelings and the memories you build for them. Also, if the divorce was challenging for you and spending the holidays with your ex-spouse will interfere with your healing process, it is advised that you avoid it and spend the holidays separately.
You can still have a lovely holiday with your friends, family, or kids, even without your ex-spouse. It might be complicated or awkward initially, but you can always get creative and take a break from how you usually spend your holiday. A divorce is not always a loss. Sometimes it is an opportunity to step out of your comfort zone and explore other options.