Based on my 16 years of experience in family law, I have learned a few lessons regarding the best interest of the children during the holidays:
- First, it is important that children attend the family holiday celebrations and honor the traditions of both sides of the family. The traditions of our families, to a large extent, make up who we are. Thus, honoring the same is a fundamental point of raising our children. Both sides must work together to accomplish this goal.
- Second, it is critical that both parties communicate and plan ahead to minimize stress and the overwhelming feeling that often grips us during this time of year. This is critical not only for the children, but for the parents themselves. If the parents are stressed and overwhelmed, it is obviously going to affect the children in a negative way.
- Third, parents can create new traditions that ease the transition for the children. Creating new traditions, especially by allowing the children to help create them, will be exciting and allow the children to better envision moving forward in their new reality.
- Fourth (and this rule is year round, but especially critical during the holidays), do NOT speak negatively about the other parent. Nothing is more soul-crushing to a child than one parent speaking negatively about the other parent. When this happens around a spiritual, festive time of the year, it is especially harmful.
Please honor your children and have a great holiday season!
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