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Handling the holidays as a divorced family

Spending time with family is a staple to the holiday season. This is also a time of year that can get a little tricky and present some conflict for divorced families with children in Louisiana and throughout the rest of the country. The busy and irregular schedules that come with the holidays do not always flow perfectly with the predetermined child custody arrangements.

Parents at the center of these divorced families can take steps to ensure that the holidays continue without arguments or negative feelings seeping in.

Parents should not force children to choose where they want to go for, and how they want to spend, the holidays. This forces them to essentially choose favorites and it puts them in a tough place. Parents should make those decisions for the children and formulate a game plan well in advance. A parent should do this by first consulting the other spouse and not making decisions on his or her own.

Some of the time-honored and favorite holiday traditions might not work logistically anymore. As a divided family, parents have to share the children. Instead of dwelling on the traditions that no longer work, parents should form new traditions that the children can enjoy and associate with the holidays. Each spouse will have special traditions that they share with their children. It is important that the other spouse does not feel left out of these traditions.

The best way parents can give their children the memorable holiday experience they deserve is by looking at the situation through their eyes. Stepping into the children's shoes and imagining a special time of year with two parents who are no longer together can help gain perspective and lead parents to work together to form a memorable and happy holiday experience.

Source: FOX-TV Channel 9, "Divorced? Avoid holiday children tug-of-war," Dec. 1, 2011

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