Texas parents facing their first holiday season after a breakup are probably concerned about the logistics of getting through the season without causing their children any harm. Although every family dynamic is unique, there are some general guidelines that have proven effective for others who have traveled the same path. When parents work together, they can honor old family traditions and start new ones in a healthy and positive way for everyone involved.
The first rule of holidays after separation or divorce is to remember that the main objective is to take care of the children. When parents put kids first and set aside their personal animosities and hurt feelings, it is possible to not just survive but for children to prosper and grow throughout the holidays. A corollary to the first rule is for parents to resist the urge to compete regarding gifts and other holiday experiences. If possible, parents should coordinate gift giving to make sure the bases are covered without a level of extravagance that exceeds historical family practices.
Parents will need to communicate and develop a clear plan for the season. Flexibility will likely be required, and this is a good opportunity to begin creating new traditions for children. Children do better when they are informed, so communicating the plan of action to them is important. They likely are wondering about the changed dynamic, so answering their questions will help them acclimate to a changed family dynamic. Another important point is to refrain from interrogating children with excessive questions after they have spent time with the other parent: Asking if they had fun and allowing them to tell at their own pace is healthy and prudent.
Holidays are a time of stress under the best of conditions. If parents are considering how divorce and child custody issues could impact the season, consulting with a qualified family law attorney may provide guidance and peace of mind when navigating the holiday season.