Divorced Family Tips: Navigating the Holidays with Children

Navigating the Holidays with ChildrenThe Florida divorce process can be challenging for any individual that finds him or herself going through it. The divorce process often involves many emotions and challenges that can be difficult to overcome. This is especially true when the divorce process involves children. Many parents are able to breathe a sigh of relief when a Florida divorce is finalized, but find out quickly that new challenges arise when it comes to shared parenting time during the holiday season. The thought of spending a holiday without your children can be intimidating and depressing, just as the thought of having to communicate with an ex-spouse during the holiday season can be. Below are some tips that can help you effectively manage the holiday season while working with your ex-spouse to ensure that you are able to maintain your focus on what is in the best interest of your children in a way that also meets your needs as a parent. The holiday season will inevitably still be difficult for both parents and children after divorce, but these tips can help you make the most out of that situation.

Be Prepared

One of the most important things you can do as a parent to make the holiday season more enjoyable for both your children and you is to be prepared. Florida courts generally require a detailed parenting plan that will adequately divide time with the children per your custody agreement. Usually, this means a court will insist that you specifically spell out the days and times children will spend with each individual parent. These schedules tend to spell out specific holidays and other dates throughout the year where parents will have physical custody of their children. An important step in transitioning into this kind of time sharing arrangement is to understand that a custody arrangement means your children may not be spending as much holiday time with you as you might like. It is also equally important to prepare for how your children will react to your holiday time sharing agreement and anticipate how you might be able to effectively address their needs during this time. There are many factors you will need to consider, such as your child’s academic needs during school vacations and making sure to provide a supportive environment for them while parenting during the time they are with you. Being prepared to tackle these tough situations and feelings is an important step in ensuring that these situations do not negatively impact you and/or your children any more than they have to.

Communicate Effectively

Communication between you and your ex-spouse can be an issue, especially if communication was one of the reasons you and your spouse decided to divorce. However, it is extremely important to maintain effective communication with your ex-spouse so that custodial and other transitions can be as easy as possible for children and for you. While you should try to stick to custody arrangements as much as possible, if the need may arise to diverge from those arrangements you should make as much effort as possible to discuss that with your ex-spouse as soon as you become aware of it. This will help avoid conflict between parents. At the same time, make sure you do not spend your time with your children speaking negatively about their other parent as this can increase animosity between you and your ex-spouse as well as between you, your ex-spouse, and your children.

Additionally, give your children their own time to communicate effectively, too. While the Florida divorce process was likely difficult for you, it is important to remember that it was also probably very difficult for your children. An important step in helping your children to adjust to shared custody arrangements and other aspects of divorce is to allow them to express their own needs and emotions in a healthy manner.

Provide Experiences and Quality Time

A common reflex to having less time with your children both during the holiday season and year-round is to try and buy them more things. However, numerous studies have been conducted that demonstrate children’s best interests are usually most well served when they are able to spend quality time with each parent and participate in individual experiences with that parent.

While personal possessions have their place in a child’s life, it is important to remember that the experiences you are able to provide your children with can be much more effective and important. That does not mean thst you have to go without important personal needs so that you can take your children on a vacation around the world during your holiday time with them. You can start new traditions with your children during the holiday season that you are able to continue sharing with them in years to come as well as find ways to engage in activities they enjoy. Providing and engaging in unique and meaningful experiences with your children during the holiday season can help make your time with them more fulfilling for everyone involved.

Be Aware of Your Needs

Making sure your needs are met whenever possible is an important part of parenting effectively in any circumstances, especially when parenting involves divorce. WebMD notes the importance of taking care of yourself throughout the year, and especially during holidays, so that you can properly care for your children. Make sure to eat healthy and maintain your own personal care regimen as much as possible during the holiday season to help you manage the stress that inevitably accompanies this time of year. Doing so will help ensure that you are healthy and happy during the holiday season so that you can provide your children with the best possible experience given your individual circumstances. If you need outside help to handle negative emotions or other issues, it is important to recognize that need and seek appropriate health before those needs begin to affect your relationship with your children in a negative way.

Utilize Your Florida Divorce Attorney

Florida family law attorneys that focus their practice on divorce and related issues are well-equipped to provide you with helpful resources to make sure that you can successfully navigate the divorce process and emerge from it with the tools necessary to tackle new issues. Your Florida divorce attorney likely has a wealth of resources that they can provide you that can make custody arrangements easier for you during the holiday season and throughout the year. It is important to be open and honest with your Florida divorce attorney so that he or she can be sure to provide you with legal guidance tailored to your needs, especially when it comes to something as important as children. Contact Scott J. Stadler to schedule a consultation where you can find out more information about the Florida divorce process as well as how it may impact you and your children during the holiday season and beyond.