For many families affected by divorce or separation, the winter holiday can present a number of logistical and personal challenges. Making arrangements for parenting time, holiday meals, and out-of-town trips to visit extended family can be very difficult, especially if you and your ex are unable to communicate effectively. No matter how divisive the relationship with your child’s other parent may be, one of the best gifts the two of you can offer your children this year is a pledge to work together to make the holidays more enjoyable for everyone.
Find Joy in Your Child’s Happiness
Whether your parenting time agreement contains specific provisions regarding the holidays or your arrangement is relatively fluid, it is important to keep your focus on your child. As an adult, you certainly deserve to enjoy the holidays that are important to you and your family, as well, but your child’s needs should always come first. Consider the joyful memories you may have of your childhood holidays and, as best you can, pass those traditions on to your child, albeit with the necessary modifications. If making your child happy requires a little bit of personal sacrifice on the part of the parents, discuss with the other parent ways to distribute the responsibilities.
Be Respectful of Changing Situations
As time goes on after your divorce or break-up, new relationships and family dynamics will almost certainly develop. Your child’s other parent may eventually remarry, just as you may have new romantic interest or circle of friends. Changing life circumstances could mean that this year’s holiday celebration is significantly different than last year, which is completely understandable but adjusting can be difficult. Keep in mind that if you want the other parent to respect your right to a happy future, you need to offer the same in return. A pleasant demeanor and a kind word can demonstrate to your child your commitment to his or her happiness.
A New Beginning
For some divorced couples, the holidays represent the perfect opportunity to forge a new relationship with one another. Rather than dwelling on the past, inviting your ex into your celebration for a cup of coffee, for example, can lead to constructive conversations about how to work together in the future. There are countless stories of people who could not stay married to each other, but were able to establish stable, life-long friendships for the sake of their children. Such relationships often begin with one person being willing to put differences aside and convincing the other that something better is possible.
When family dynamics change in the years after a divorce, the divorce decree will often need to be modified to accommodate the new situation. If you think a modification may be needed to address your changing circumstances, contact an experienced Orland Park family law attorney. We are equipped to help you and family find the long-term happiness you deserve.