While divorce can be a struggle for families with children all throughout the year, Thanksgiving can be a particularly difficult time when parents cannot celebrate the holiday with their kids. The first few Thanksgivings can be especially tough for divorced families because it can bring to mind cherished memories of previous holidays and remind them that their holiday traditions will not be the same. However, Thanksgiving does not have to be painful this year if you change how you celebrate now that you are a co-parent. Below, we explain three tips that can help you cope with the new reality of being a co-parent during the holiday season.
Stick To Your Parenting Schedule
There are a variety of ways co-parents can fairly divide the Thanksgiving holiday depending upon the time off from school in your children’s school district, as well as the rest of the holiday weekend. Here are some examples of common parenting schedules used for Thanksgiving:
- One parent gets the children on Thanksgiving and the other parent gets the children for the remaining holiday;
- Split time with the children during the entire Thanksgiving holiday;
- Alternate the entire Thanksgiving holiday between the parents.
Make New Traditions
The absence of children during Thanksgiving is challenging for parents who are getting used to life after divorce. Rather than avoid celebrating, parents who do not have the children for the holiday should reach out to friends and family they have to find a virtual Thanksgiving celebration to attend. Virtual celebrations are a great way to enjoy some time away from the stress of the holiday while also making lasting memories with loved ones. It also allows you to indulge in your own Thanksgiving feast with dishes of your choosing. If avoiding the holiday is more suited for you, taking advantage of the long weekend for a brief getaway would be an excellent way to recharge.
Set Reasonable Expectations
It is important to remember that you will not always be able to make everyone happy on Thanksgiving, which is why it is crucial to set realistic expectations for what the holiday will be like as a co-parent. If you do have custody of the children on Thanksgiving, do not feel obligated to recreate the past, instead, find new ways to reinforce a supportive relationship. You should plan ahead for how you will spend time together and try to model behavior that reinforces positive coping strategies.
Dreyer Law is here to assist if you have any child custody disputes during the holiday season. Please do not hesitate to give us a call to schedule a consultation.