The holiday season can be particularly stressful for North Carolina families that are being separated by divorce. Among the emotions common to both parents and children at this time are fear, anger, sadness and loss. However, a child’s anxiety can be mitigated if the parents put a clear plan in place for the holidays and maintain a positive attitude.
Because the holidays can be so stressful, parents may need some help managing their emotions. A therapist or counselor may help a parent work through feelings that make it difficult for them to co-parent with the ex-spouse. In some cases, simply venting to family or friends is sufficient. For the holidays, the main priority is that those feelings do not cause the parent to try to stop the children from visiting the other side of the family. Each parent should encourage the children to have fun with the other parent.
Children should also know what the holiday visitation schedule will be. When the kids return from an ex’s household, a parent shouldn’t try to get information from the child by peppering them with questions. They should also avoid viewing the holidays as a time for competition with the ex. Instead, parents should listen to what the child wants to share and not make judgmental remarks.
Holiday plans are sometimes agreed upon during child custody proceedings. These could be negotiations between parents and their attorneys, or they could happen in court with a judge deciding. Either way, it’s important to carefully address visitation time during the holidays. An attorney could help with this process.