Holidays have always been a time of great stress. Even though most people in Atlanta love getting together with family members to celebrate, holidays also require planning, compromise and, at times, disagreement. For a Georgia parent who has just gone through a divorce, the first set of holidays can be extremely difficult. But navigating the holidays as a single parent can be extremely important, especially for children.

Something that newly single parents and parents who have been divorced for years always need to be reminded of is that giving presents is not a competition. As we approach the gift-giving season, some parents may try to out-buy their ex; getting children everything they want in an effort to garner their children’s affection. Not only can that be dangerous for a mother or father who is still adjusting to a single source of income, but it is also a disingenuous way to earn children’s respect and love.

Another important realization that parents must make is that not all holiday traditions will last after a divorce. Though it is important to have some continuity between holidays in which the mother and father remained together and after separation, it may remind parents and children of the divorce to force a tradition that really requires both parents. There will be some traditions that can carry on as usual, some that may need to be modified and some that will be thrown out altogether.

Most importantly, newly single parents must remember to put their children first during the holidays. It is just as difficult for them to go through a holiday without having both parents around, and they may be looking to both parents to try and get their mind off of the divorce and child custody issues. Even if a parent doesn’t have custody on the day of the holiday or can’t get along well enough with an ex to share custody that day, it is important that both parents strive to make the (divorced) holidays a joyous season.

Source: The Huffington Post, “O, Come All ye Newly Single Parents: How to Get Through the Holidays Without Singing The Blues,” Christina Pesoli, Oct. 19, 2012

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