The holidays are one of the most difficult times for California families going through a divorce. Children as well as their parents will be dealing with a number of difficult emotions that range from anger to sadness. However, parents need to deal with these emotions in a way that allows them to make the children their priority.
Therapists or friends and family can provide the emotional support that parents may need during this time. This can allow them to focus on the children. Parents need to have a plan for the holidays that they share with the children. This will reduce stress. In addition, parents need to encourage their children to enjoy their time with the other parent. To that end, they should avoid trying to prevent the other parent from spending time with the children or view the time as a competition.
When children come home from their time with the other parent, they should not be quizzed. They must feel free to share as much as they want, and parents should be supportive and listen without judging. This is also a time for parents to be patient. While the transition may be difficult, it will not last indefinitely. Both children and parents will eventually adapt to new holiday traditions.
In some cases, when parents negotiate custody and visitation, holiday and vacation plans are included. If they are not, parents should make these plans well in advance. There are a number of different ways children may split time with their parents during the holidays. They might spend one year with one parent and the next year with the other, or they might spend part of the holiday with each household. Older children may have a preference about what they want to do.