Birthdays and holidays can bring substantial joy to children and families. They may come with unique traditions and fun-filled parties.
However, following a divorce, these celebrations may suddenly be the source of complications and hurt feelings. Even when parents share custody, they will not each be able to spend every holiday or birthday with their children. Although this comes at a disappointment for many people, there are certain steps parents can take to mitigate any potential problems.
The first thing any parent should remember is to be flexible. Even when parents have detailed parenting agreements that include how birthdays and holidays will be spent, it is inevitable that conflicts and complications will arise. For instance, your child may wish to spend a holiday with your former partner due to a particular tradition, even if it’s not that parent’s “turn” to have that holiday. It is a good idea to consider your child’s needs and adjust accordingly — and try to be as flexible as possible.
That said, it’s also important to provide your kids with structure and predictability when it comes to family celebrations. It is quite possible that birthdays and holidays represent a source of stress for them, as well, as they may feel caught in the middle of choosing how to spend these special occasions. Let them know the plans in advance so that they do not feel any pressure to make big decisions on their own.
As your children age, you and the other parent may consider straying from a strict schedule and instead allow your kids to weigh in on the planning. For example, some children prefer to spend Thanksgiving with one parent and Christmas with the other, and would prefer consistency. Take their opinion into consideration and your children will likely appreciate knowing that their opinions matter.
Above all, remember that your kids’ needs are what matters most. If you need assistance drafting a parenting or child custody agreement, speak with an experienced Florida divorce attorney at the Law Office of K. Dean Kantaras.