12 Days of Christmas Tips – Day 5: Holiday Tips for Divorced Families

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12 Days of Christmas Tips – Day 5: Holiday Tips for Divorced Families

It is difficult for families who have been divorced. For those of us who have been through this, we know it is hard on the adults, and even harder on the children. There is a family law attorney here in Dallas, Natalie Gregg, who has a saying… “You can love your kids or hate your spouse, but you can’t do both.” I think this is great advice for parents to remember, especially at the holidays. So let me suggest some holiday tips for divorced families.

While it is sometimes difficult to set aside the anger, it is in your child’s best interest to make the holidays as relaxing and fun as possible. Don’t put them in a position where they have to choose, or risk making one parent unhappy to make the other one happy. It needs to be safe for them to enjoy the holidays with both Mom and Dad (and their families) without worry or trying to anticipate how one parent or the other will react. Don’t bad-mouth their Mom’s family, or don’t criticize Dad’s gifts to them. Instead, be positive, and encourage them throughout the holiday period.

Our children did not choose to be in a divorced family. As much as we as adults are sometimes victimized in a bad relationship, our children truly are victims in these scenarios where there is no winner. Of course, the most effective way to make the holidays safe and stress-free for our children is when both parents work together to accomplish this goal. But even if your spouse is the biggest jerk ever, it is still worth the effort to hold your tongue or bite your lip, and try to make it a smooth and easy time for your children. Our children may never know the sacrifices we make to allow that to happen, but isn’t that true about many of the things we do for our kids? We constantly make those kinds of sacrifices, but because of the emotional trauma of divorce, it is sometimes hard for us to move past that anger and pain associated with our ex. When we can, our children benefit.

So try to set aside the animosity. Also, remember that dates are just numbers on a calendar. You can celebrate an important event with your children and family whenever you decide to do so. Not having custody of the children on the 24th or 25th is not a catastrophe. Instead, maybe it can be an opportunity to spread out the holiday celebrations over several days, making the event even more fun for your children, and less stressful for you. We all know it’s not ideal, but then neither is a divorce. Making the best out of a less than ideal situation can make life happier for you and your children. Your ex really isn’t worth the effort that it takes to hate someone; but your children are worth the effort it takes to love and make happy memories. Choose your children, you will be glad you did!



Keith Owens is the owner and founder of Owens Investigations.


photo credit: deltaMike via photopin cc

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  1. I totally agree that getting past the anger is better for the kids. It was the anger that kept me going during my divorce, but I can see now that it probably holds me back from moving forward, and confuses my children. Thanks for giving me some motivation to put my best foot forward during the holidays.

  2. Sarah, I think it’s great that you are wanting to move forward with your children’s best interest as the motivator. I think that when we get past the anger, pain, and disappointment we are healthier, which is obviously good for us, and also good for our children. As you do move forward, build the life you want to have. We all deserve that!

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