Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together


Negotiating Holidays With Divorced Parents

posted by Linda Mintle

Jennifer wonders if it possible to satisfy everyone’s expectations for the holidays? She and her husband Sam both have divorced parents. This means four sets of parents want to see their grandkids for Christmas. And to complicate things, they all don’t get along or live near each other.

Last year, Jennifer tried splitting Christmas Day between one set of divorced parents. Christmas Eve went to the other set of parents. Jennifer’s family spent hours in the car with cranky toddlers and were fed multiple times during all the celebrations.  Everyone wanted more time and Jennifer felt like she pleased no one.  It all felt a bit overwhelming. So what can Jennifer do differently this holiday season to make everyone happy and keep her sanity?

In truth, Jennifer may not be able to please everyone. She and Sam must decide what is truly doable and then set boundaries. The couple is also considering new options this year. One is to host the holiday festivities in their home and invite everyone to attend. If people can’t be civil to one another for a few days, then the problem is theirs, not Jennifer’s.

Another option is to vacation somewhere during the holiday. Last year, Jennifer’s friend decided to spend Christmas vacationing in Florida because the relatives couldn’t agree on a game plan that included everyone. The friend said it took pressure off all the feuding. And because Jennifer regularly sees all the relatives, this may be a viable option.  A getaway could be relaxing!

One other idea is to see if the exes will agree to be together for Christmas dinner or Christmas Eve. More and more divorced families are trying this out as a way to be with their kids. Again, the success of this plan would hinge on the exes’ decision to give it a try and exercise a little “peace on Earth”!

After much discussion, Jennifer and Sam decided to host both Christmas Eve and dinner. One parent has already opted out of Christmas Eve, but the rest agreed to come and focus on their kids and the holiday rather than past wounds or hurts that by choice remain unresolved.

How have you successfully negotiated holiday time when divorce is in play?



Previous Posts

Relatives Who Drink Too Much: How to Handle it
Question: We will be traveling to our relatives in another state for several family gatherings during Christmas. Two of my siblings are problem drinkers and I am not sure how to handle this with my family. We do not drink so my children are not used to seeing family members act up while under the in

posted 6:00:57am Dec. 18, 2014 | read full post »

Christmas Shopping With Toddlers: Dr. Linda's 10 Tips
A reader asks: As much as I love to shop on-line, I prefer to tackle the masses during Christmas and head to the malls and store. My question is, “How can I shop with two little ones (ages two and four) and remain sane?” I will have to take them with me but really want to give it a try.  

posted 6:00:45am Dec. 17, 2014 | read full post »

What's Eating You This Holiday Season? Keep a Log and Find Out!
Joanne looked at the chocolate-covered donut in her hand. As she took her first bite, she wondered, "Why am I eating this? I''m not really hungry, but the plate of goodies sitting by the office coffee pot just looks good. Besides, my boss is making me crazy! But is there more to the story? F

posted 6:00:24am Dec. 16, 2014 | read full post »

10 Ideas to Avoid Depression During the Holidays
It's the most wonderful time of the year....well, not for everyone. Holidays can be difficult if you struggle with your mood and family issues. However, there are proactive ways to keep your spirit bright. 1) Don't overspend. Avoid being caught up in all the deals, discounts and e-shopping. Fi

posted 6:00:31am Dec. 12, 2014 | read full post »

6 Tips to Avoid Child Meltdowns During the Holidays
Are you dreading that trip in the car to grandparents? Is the hype of the holidays overstimulating your children? Too  much sugar, too little sleep? Try these 6 tips:   1) Routines and rituals: Try to keep as many going as you can. Even when you travel, insist on a regular bedti

posted 6:00:20am Dec. 10, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.