When newly-divorced and divorcing parents encounter their first few holiday seasons, it’s typically the most challenging time of the year to manage change — even more so than the start of a new school year. Parents and children alike have to adjust to either alternating Christmases and Thanksgivings, if they’ve got a standard custody plan, or bouncing between Mom’s celebration and Dad’s celebration on the same day. Either way, it’s a decided change from what was most likely the way it used to be — parents working together to create memories for their children, and establishing family traditions that recur from year to year.
Because collaborative divorce puts so much emphasis on the needs of the children, the process is designed to not only help parents resolve issues together, but allows for a mental health professional to readily enter the process, helping the parents and children through whatever emotions come up. In two earlier Collaborative Law Institute of Texas blog articles viewable here and here, CLI-TX board member and President Elect Syd Sharples walks through the issues to be mindful of when navigating the holidays, and how to preserve and create new traditions and happy memories even in the face of divorce.
This article, just published in Slate, is an engaging and hopeful tale showing what happens when divorced parents — albeit, some years after the divorce is final, decide to come together for a Thanksgiving dinner. The story’s well-written and speaks to the struggle that adult children of divorce still have with feeling they have to choose between parents. It’s good to know that some divorced parents can come together eventually — of course, those who settle their divorces collaboratively have some experience with what’s required to eventually pull off a cordial holiday celebration together. And, even before they get to that point, divorced parents can and should work together to make the holidays as happy as possible for their children.