P.A.C.E. - A Four-Step Process to Handle Holiday Traditions and Transitions.
by: Amie Greenberg, JD, MBA and Barbara Greenberg, MD
"P" - PLANNING AND POSITIVE NEW TRADITIONS
- Plan Ahead:Planning the holiday schedule in advance reduces the chances for miscommunication and gives parents time to iron out any conflicts.
- Plan Something Special:Plan something special for the children over the holidays, so they have something to look forward to with each parent.
- Plan Some Me Time: Take some time for you to rest, relax and recuperate.
- Positive Aspects and New Traditions: Focus on the positive aspects. Your children have two parents that love them and spend holiday time with them. Involve your children, in planning and experiencing new events and new holiday traditions.
"A" - ACKNOWLEDGE SADNESS AND DIFFERENCES
- Acknowledge and Sadness: Anytime there is a life changing event, such as a divorce, family traditions and routines change. Children see the family unit as broken. With your children, recognize and acknowledge that it is sad that you will not be together as a family unit over the holidays.
- Acknowledge That Things Are Different and Talk About It: The disruption of holiday and family traditions is difficult. Children generally want to be with both parents over the holidays. Help your children deal with these emotions by talking about the changes.
"C" - COOPERATION AND COMMUNICATION
- Cooperation and Flexibility: Try to cooperate with scheduling and have added flexibility which reduces conflict. If you can’t work it out, let it go.
- Cooperative Efforts: If possible, do something special with the children for the other parent. A simple card or dinner during the holidays sends a positive message to the children about the other parent.
- Communication: Allow the other parent to easily communicate by phone or Skype with the children over the holidays. A lack of communication holidays, can lead to conflict. This is an easy way of co-parenting.
"E" - ENCOURAGE AND EMPOWER
- Encourage your children to enjoy holiday time with the other parent: Children often feel divided and torn in a divorce. Give your children the permission to enjoy holiday time with the other parent. This way, children can look forward to spending time with each parent without feeling guilty.
- Empower your Children: Encourage your children to talk and give them say in what they want over the holidays.
Amie and her mother Barbara Greenberg, MD, authored "I Am Divorced … But I’m Still Me” books after personally and professionally experiencing the impact of divorce. They recognized a need to acknowledge how children viewed their world before, during and after divorce. Their hope is to help other families who are going through the pain of divorce. You can contact Amie for legal services at http://www.amiegreenberglaw.com. Follow her on FB at http://tinyurl.com/buwe2gk, http://tinyurl.com/bodu2b2 and Twitter@4childofdivorce. Amie is a contributing expert atHope After Divorce and Divorce Support Center and their Director of Community Outreach with her blog Divorce Corner™. Amie also contributes as an advisory board member of Divorce Support Center. More information about the authors, their books, and their blog is available at http://www.AChildsViewofDivorce.com.