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 as they adjust to their new normal. Below, we explain three strategies 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 divide up parenting time for Thanksgiving fairly. Here are some examples of common parenting schedules used for Thanksgiving:
- One parent gets the children on Thanksgiving and the other parent gets the children for the weekend
- Both parents have equal time with the children on Thanksgiving Day 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 to find a Thanksgiving celebration to attend, whether it’s in-person or virtual. While it may not be your first choice, laughing and enjoying with others will help lift your spirits. If avoiding the holiday altogether is your preference, taking advantage of the long weekend for a brief getaway is an excellent option to recharge.
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 family law attorneys at McKinley Irvin can assist with child custody disputes. Call us at 206-397-0399 or request a consultation online.