The emotional and financial stress of the holidays can frequently intensify parental conflict, leaving children with feelings of guilt and responsibility. This can be prevented with the right plan and Leving will provide several steps that divorced dads can take to make the holidays stress-free.
“Find out what the holidays mean to your children – see what activities they most enjoy, the food they look forward to, and so on. Family-based traditions will be the basis for creating a lot of great memories,” suggests Leving.
If it isn’t possible to keep those family-based traditions intact, Leving suggests creating new traditions to give divorced dads the opportunity to spend time with their children before or after the actual days of Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa. Going to a local ice rink to go skating or visiting the local festivals are possible options.
When it comes to gift-giving, Leving advises that replacing a father’s presence with presents is not a solution. Also, do not allow gift giving to be a competition between yourself and your former spouse. Discuss a budget that is comfortable for both of you if possible, and stick to it. Doing otherwise can encourage your children to take sides, which can be harmful to providing stability for your children.
Leving, author of How to be a Good Divorced Dad (Jossey-Bass 2012), has compiled years of research that show the devastating effects of father absence. The presence of a father is even more vital around cornerstone events like Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa.
“Over half of the children in Chicago are born out of wedlock, and many times, have two different homes for the holidays. Home is where the heart is, and regardless of how the home is structured, fathers are a crucial part to building the foundation,”
According to Scientific Mind America, “children whose fathers are stable and involved are better off on almost every cognitive, social, and emotional measure developed by researchers.”
Holidays provide memories and traditions to be shared, an essential part to maintaining stability and comfort in tumultuous lives that can grow from a broken home.
Holidays create moments children remember for a lifetime. It is a child’s right to have two responsible parents as part of that holiday memory.
Follow Fathers’ Rights Attorney Jeffery Leving on twitter @fathersmatter and his website www.dadsrights.com.