This is the time of year that we in Family Law see a lot of disagreements between parents, even when there are custody and visitation orders in place. Divorce and separation are hard enough on children, don’t let the holidays bring more unhappiness for them.
Yes, the relatives are coming and they want to see the children. If it’s not your Thanksgiving with the children, why not have your Thanksgiving on a different day? Kids don’t care what day they have turkey on. Why should you? After all, it is just one damn day out of the year, right?
Some parents split the day with the children with one having them in the morning and one in the evening. This to me is to hard on the children. Really, can children eat two meals? Should they? How much fun do you think this would be for your children? Alternating the holidays usually works best for the children. There are those parents who, even after divorce, can put aside their differences and spend the holidays with each other, their families and their children. This might be great for some, but not for all. Remember, being a parent means you sometimes, ok, more than sometimes, have to sacrifice what you want for what is best for your children.
So, with Thanksgiving coming, that means Christmas is on its way as well. Yes, it is wonderful to see children waking up on Christmas morning excited and running to open their presents. But it may not be your year for the children on Christmas Day. Kids don’t care when they get to open their presents, they just want them. Many of us have Christmas Eve and Christmas Day celebrations.
When my children were little, I was lucky and so were they. For all the years their father and I were together, his family celebrated on Christmas Eve. My family celebrated on Christmas Day. After we divorced, it remained this way. Our boys would usually spend the first week out of school through Christmas Eve with their father and his family. Christmas Day and the following week was spent with me and my family. The boys always thought that Christmas was actually 2 days long! They still, even as adults, open a present on Christmas Eve and the rest on Christmas Day.
It was all about the children as it should be. As hard as it can be, it is important to remember this. Your children will remember and don’t you want them to have great memories of the holidays? Heck, if you can do this for them during the holidays, why can’t you do this for them all year? I know, I may be asking to much here, lol.
No matter what you and the other parent decide the visitation schedule should be during the holidays, remember that these days should be examples for giving thanks and celebration with family and friends and not fighting about your children as if they are possessions. Your children will be watching and learning the lessons that you instill in them during these times as well as the rest of the year. Some day they may be raising your grandchildren and wouldn’t you want them to have a good foundation on how to co-parent together, whether living as a family unit or separately?