According to one family counselor outside of Maryland, separated or divorced parents should consider the issue of the holidays. As the holidays draw near, many families become stressed about how they will manage their hectic schedules, shopping, and child custody visitation schedules. During and after divorce, and perhaps especially during the holidays, there are certain things which may help parents smooth out the season for their children.

The first thing that parents can do is to listen to their kids. This fundamental tip carries through each of the following helpful ideas. Get the child’s input on what they are excited about, and what they would like to do during the holidays. Second, tradition is very important for many families, and divided custody can alter holiday traditions. Especially if one parent will be alone if the child visits the other, be mindful that the child may be upset by this.

Regardless of the situation and bitter feelings, parents ought to strive for kindness and setting a positive example for their children. This may include not spending time with family members who cannot be civil due to the situation. Parents can communicate with their kids that the different holiday schedule does not mean that each parent does not love them, only that each parent will spend separate time with them. Reinforcing positivity can be a key ingredient to helping children make it through the challenging days following divorce.

During the holidays, there are a lot of emotions that parents and children experience. Having divided child custody schedules may exacerbate these emotions. Maryland parents may benefit from spending quality time with their children, listening to what they have to say, and reinforcing how much they are loved.

Especially in cases where custody is divided, the holidays can present situations that can become contentious. When such issues arise, some parents may feel as though the situation is out of their control. In these cases, it may be best for parents to seek an objective third party intervention to help smooth out the situation. Divorce is not easy on anyone involved, but with the right steps, parents can help make the holiday seasons that follow divorce happy and healthy for their children. After all, keeping the children’s best interests first and foremost is one of the most important steps.

Source:, ” Newly divorced angst over holiday plans,” Marci Shatzman, Nov. 7, 2012