Thanksgiving After Divorce: 3 Tips for Co-Parents
While divorce can be a struggle for families with children all throughout the year, Thanksgiving can be a particularly difficult time when parents can’t celebrate the holiday with their kids. The first few Thanksgivings can be especially tough for divorced families because it can bring to mind cherished memories of previous holidays and remind them their holiday traditions won’t be the same. However, Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be painful this year if you switch up how you celebrate now that you are a co-parent. Below, we explain three tips that can help you cope with the new reality of being a co-parent during the holiday season.
Tip #1: Stick to Your Parenting Schedule
There are a variety of ways co-parents can fairly divide up Thanksgiving, as well as the rest of the holiday weekend. Here are some examples of common parenting schedules used for Thanksgiving:
- One gets the children on Thanksgiving and the other parent gets the children for the weekend
- Split time with the children on Thanksgiving and over the weekend
- Combine Thanksgiving Day and the weekend into one holiday time and alternate each year
Tip #2: Make New Traditions
The absence of children during Thanksgiving is challenging for parents who are getting used to life after divorce. Rather than avoid celebrating, parents who don’t have the children for the holiday should reach out to friends and family they have to find a virtual Thanksgiving celebration to attend. Virtual celebrations are a great way to enjoy some time away from the stress of the holiday while also making lasting memories with loved ones. It also allows you to indulge in your own Thanksgiving feast with dishes of your choosing. If avoiding the holiday is more suited for you, taking advantage of the long weekend for a brief getaway would be an excellent way to recharge—as long as all COVID guidelines are being met.
Tip #3: Set Reasonable Expectations
It’s important to remember that you won’t always be able to make everyone happy on Thanksgiving, which is why it is crucial to set realistic expectations for what the holiday will be like as a co-parent. If you do have custody of the children on Thanksgiving, don’t feel obligated to recreate the past, instead, find new ways to reinforce a supportive relationship. You should plan ahead for how you’ll spend time together and try to model behavior that reinforces positive coping strategies.
The seasoned lawyers at McKinley Irvin are here to assist if you have any child custody disputes during the holiday season. Please don’t hesitate to give us a call to request a case consultation.