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Navigating the holidays with children after a divorce

It's difficult enough to try to make child custody and visitations work when it isn't the holidays. When you throw Thanksgiving and Christmas into the mix, the stress can build up quickly.

One mother said that when she was a child and her parents divorced, it was always difficult for her to be at one parent's home or the others. She knew one parent would spend the days by him- or herself. Now as a divorced mother, she's come up with three strategies to help make the holidays better for both the children and the parents.

-- Listen to your children. This is really important. As a child, the woman said that she was never given a chance where to spend the holidays and that may be what has to happen in your case due to court orders or other arrangements. However, if possible, asking your children where they want to spend the day can help them feel less like victims of divorce. They will know that you value their opinion. Be prepared, though. You might not get the answer you want so badly.

-- Keep it cordial. Now is not the time to fight with your ex over a late pickup or drop off. If you can get through the holiday season without a massive argument, do so. It's better on the children -- after all, they don't want the memory of their parents screaming at each other on the holiday.

-- Remember the reason for the season. This time of year is about giving and loving. Your children will remember the holidays fondly if you help them make fond memories. Instead of complaining about how horrible the holidays are, find the good things to remember and give thanks for. Your children will remember this in the years to come.

You may already be locked into a visitation agreement that lays out exactly where the children will be on what holidays. If this is the case, obey the agreement, but you may want to consider a modification the following year.

Source: The Huffington Post, "3 Strategies for Negotiating Divorce, Children and the Holidays With Compassion" Shakti Sutriasa, Dec. 09, 2014

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