Holiday Survival Tips for Divorced Parents
Part II: Holiday Don’ts
by Carolyn Woodruff
I know you may hate your ex, but let’s not take it out on the kids, especially at the holidays. I hope by the way you do not hate your ex, but if you aren’t over him or her and the anger stage, read this and adhere to it. Your kids will thank you although it may be after they are adults. This is Part II of a holiday survival guide for do’s (Part I) and don’ts (Part II).
- Don’t buy a gift for your child to take to the other parent’s house that the other parent will hate, even if you hate your ex. Examples, a white rat or a boa constrictor. Dad, that kitten is cute, and your child will fall in love with the kitten so fast, but you know the mom is highly allergic to cats, don’t go there unless of course the cat will live with you. Even then, think carefully about this because kids love to have the pet with them wherever they are.
- Don’t spend all your holiday time with the children doing adult activities that you primarily enjoy. Let’s say you love football, and there is lots of football over the December holidays. If your seven-year-old daughter loves gymnastics and ice skating, spend some time on these activities. There is an excellent ice rink in downtown Greensboro. Explore this.
- Don’t cry in front of kids. This is a no-no. Just don’t do it. This makes children feel very bad and uncomfortable.
- Don’t bad mouth the other parent or their extended family in front of the kids. So you don’t like your ex’s mother, tell your therapist and not your kid.
- Don’t say to the kids that you don’t have enough money for presents because the other parent is not paying you enough. Don’t bring up finances to the kids. This is an adult issue.
- Don’t inflict guilt on the kids. Make the kids feel secure. Let’s say this is not your year with the children on Christmas Eve, don’t call the kids on Christmas Eve and make them feel guilty for not being with you. Bad, bad, bad.
- Don’t engage or respond to an adversarial spouse. Take the high road. In the long run, the kids will have great respect for you.
- Don’t prevent the child from taking your gifts to the child to the other parent’s house.
- Don’t post on social media statements about the other parent and the other extended family.
- Don’t lobby for your new significant other during the holiday with the kids. He or she is not the other parent and will never be. Strike a balance that is comfortable for your children regarding any new loves in your life. Don’t be pushy with the children during the holiday season.