You might be one of many Texas residents who love the autumn season and anticipating a new holiday season ahead. You might also be one of many people who have decided to divorce and are worried about the holidays, particularly how your life-changing decision might affect your kids and whether you and your ex can negotiate a fair agreement in an amicable fashion. Like all good parents, you have your children’s best interests in mind.
Peacefully settling a divorce is often possible through mediation. You don’t even have to step foot inside a courtroom. Navigating the holidays after divorce, however, can indeed be challenging, especially during your first year. Keeping several things in mind can be helpful for you and your children.
The more detailed your co-parenting plan, the better
When you mediate a divorce, you and your spouse can incorporate any terms you want into your co-parenting plan. If your goal is to avoid high levels of stress during the holidays, you’ll want to make sure you plan ahead and get a lot of things in writing, such as where your children will spend each holiday or whether you and your ex will attend gatherings at the same time for the kids’ sake.
If you don’t put all the details in writing, it leaves more room for confusion or dispute. You can customize your co-parenting agreement to fit your and your children’s needs, as well as your long-term goals. You can alternate holidays or develop a plan where your kids spend part of the day with you and the other half with your ex. The point is that putting it in writing and signing an agreement helps avoid holiday stress.
Be prepared to de-stress if trigger issues arise
The last thing children need is to witness their parents arguing on a holiday. This, of course, can happen in any household, even for parents who are still married. However, if you’ve recently divorced, your kids might be vulnerable to emotional upset if they are always within earshot of their parents’ arguments.
To avoid holiday stress, know ahead of time which topics you and your ex should avoid. If you sense that a conversation or situation is escalating toward an argument, try to distance yourself by stepping outside for some fresh air. You might also speak to a trusted friend or relative ahead of time who can agree to stay nearby throughout a gathering to help you stay calm.
Children of divorce fare best when their parents cooperate
If you and your ex can agree ahead of time not to speak negatively about each other to the children or in front of them, you’ll be one step ahead from the start to avoid post-divorce holiday stress. You don’t have to be best friends. In fact, given the fact that you decided to divorce, you might not get along all that well. Not only is this common, it doesn’t necessarily have to ruin your holiday season.
When your kids see that you and their other parent are willing to cooperate and treat each other respectfully, it helps them feel less stressed and able to enjoy family traditions. This is why it’s a good idea to have a plan in mind of where to seek support if a co-parenting problem does arise, especially if it pertains to a legal issue.