The holidays can be a minefield for any family, but they’re particularly tricky for ex-spouses who must interact for the sake of their children. Try as you might, ignoring your ex just isn’t an option. You’ll find it far easier to keep your cool if you frame every interaction as an opportunity to set a positive example for your kids. The following etiquette best practices should also help you get through this tough time of year:
Compromise on Gifts
In some families, gift giving quickly becomes a competition to garner the child’s favor. Other parents prefer to provide gifts jointly — but this can also lead to conflict. Discuss gifts well in advance to get an idea for what your children want and what monetary value is acceptable to both parents. If you take issue with a particular gift, don’t gripe about it during holiday celebrations; wait until later to bring it up between the two of you.
Attend Holiday Programs
Sometimes, trading off on holidays is the only option, especially as you deal with large family gatherings in various locations. With school and extracurricular programs, however, missing is not an option. That holiday chorale or Nutcracker performance might not seem like a big deal, but your child will be crushed if you skip. You don’t need to sit next to your ex, but don’t be afraid to attend if he or she is also in the audience.
Don’t Shut Out the Former In-Laws
Your children’s grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins should continue to play a key role in their lives, even after the pain of divorce. Scheduling won’t be easy as you strive to carve out time for multiple holiday functions, but it’s important to save time for both sides of the family.
Whether you’re in the midst of divorce or dealing with the aftermath, you can benefit from compassionate counsel and proactive representation. You’ll find both at the law firm of Barna, Guzy & Streffen, Ltd. Reach out today to learn more.