CHICAGO – Nov. 25 — Children often get caught in the middle of bitter arguments between separated and divorced parents during Thanksgiving and are compelled to take sides. Holidays can intensify parental conflict and leave children feeling responsible during a time that should be filled with joy and wonderment. Parents need to learn to resolve their differences before the holiday season arrives so their children can be left with memories of happiness every holiday.
Fathers’ Rights Author and Attorney, Jeffery M. Leving states, “there are several steps that a parent can take to make the holidays stress-free for their children and run smoother for everyone. The first is to sit down with the other parent and come to an agreement on key issues such as specific times to spend with the children.” Leving goes on to say, “clarifying issues like these in advance will eliminate disagreement and tension during Thanksgiving.
Often during split-custody holidays, the non-custodial parent makes the mistake of giving his or her children an astronomical amount of gifts in order to compensate for the lack of quality time being spent together. Most divorced dads feel inadequate during the holidays and spend money they don’t have. Comments Leving, “you do not want to set unrealistic expectations for your children down the road. Instead, talk with your former spouse about child sharing before Thanksgiving so there is consistency rather than competition”.
Starting new holiday traditions is another step that can be taken to focus attention on the positive aspects of the holiday. Talk to your children about how they would like to spend the holiday, and together you can create new memories that are filled with harmony and happiness.
Regardless of the situation, the most important thing to remember is to always keep children and their needs the primary focus, especially as Thanksgiving approaches.
The Fatherhood Educational Institute is a Chicago-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization committed to educating fathers about their rights and responsibilities and empowering them to stay involved in the lives of their children.