When experiencing family events, vacations and holidays for the first time after a divorce, families find that many things change and some things stay the same. A primary concern is making sure the kids have the best possible experiences with the least amount of change from previous years.
The stress of trying to do this as a first-time single parent can seem overwhelming. However, special occasions can go more smoothly with a good parenting plan, communication with the co-parent and patience to overcome obstacles when something goes wrong.
Points to remember
Every parent faces their own challenges, but here are strategies to consider:
- Do not put the kids in the middle: If you and the other parent have a disagreement, keep the kids out of it. Do not use them to try to get your way.
- Strive for consistency: Children thrive when the parents establish and use the same rules and expectations for the kids.
- When your child leaves: Remind your child in advance that he/she will be spending time with the other parent. This will help your child mentally prepare. Studies have shown that middle school children, in particular, want to know what is happening, and when.
- When your child returns: Make this a low-stress, low-key situation. Be attentive to your child’s cues and be willing to give your child time and space to make the transition.
- Family is good: It is healthy for the kids to maintain bonds with grandparents and extended family, if that is part of your family’s traditions. While the marriage may be over, these folks are still an integral part of the child’s life.
It starts with a good parenting plan
Crafting a parenting plan that serves the best interests of the children should be a top priority for parents who divorce. Couples and their attorneys can create a workable plan that fits the needs of the children and the parents.