Top Ten List: Do’s and Don’ts for Divorced and Blended Families Through the Holidays

Do:

Do: Get counseling – Put aside negative feelings regarding the other parent. Don’t play the victim to your child. Get professional counseling; your child is not your therapist!

Put your child first – Holidays should be a magical time. Put your child’s needs and desires above your own.

Involve your child in decision making – Show your child on a calendar when he or she will be with you and with the other parent. Particularly for an older child, accommodate his or her social plans.

Make a Plan – Focus on time shared with your child, not on when you won’t be with your child. Both parents, in their respective homes, should get a tree, decorate it with the child, buy gifts, etc.

Embrace the holiday spirit – Surround your child with spirited family and friends who embrace your child with holiday spirit and love. Participate in celebrations, attend choir concerts and Christmas pageants and make decorations and cookies.

Don’t:

Don’t bad mouth – Don’t bad mouth the other parent, and don’t let your extended family do so. A child feels part of both parents, so when disparaging comments are made about a parent, the child feels bad about themselves.

Don’t discuss litigation or past memories – Don’t bring up litigation or how “things used to be.”

Don’t over schedule – Having some downtime for you and your child is important.

Don’t make your child feel like they “missed out”- Don’t make your child feel like they “missed out” by not being with you during the holidays.

Don’t introduce a new “significant other” to your child – A child shouldn’t have to figure out where this person fits into your and your child’s life, unless the person is someone with whom your child is familiar and comfortable. Have a lot of one on one time with your child, thereby affirming how important your child is to you.