For divorced parents, the holidays can especially fraught with minefields.  If this is your first holiday season after a divorce, then you can expect the stress to be magnified.

Experts recommend that parents not overburden themselves with unrealistic expectations, and avoid setting goals that are too-high for the holiday season.  For instance, if you ex-spouse lives in a different city, it is perfectly fine if your child is not able to see both of the parents on the same day.  Many parents try to overcompensate, and drive themselves crazy, increasing the stress for themselves and their children in the process.

What can be done however is to make sure that your child spends one day with one parent, and the actual holiday with the other parent.

If you live close to your ex-spouse, consider spending the holiday together, but only if you are both comfortable with spending time together.  If your relationship is still conflicted, or if there is hostility involved, then it is better to celebrate separately with the child.

Many parents try to overcompensate, and go overboard with the gift-giving during the holiday season.  Experts recommend that you exercise restraint when it comes to gift-buying for your child.   It’s important for parents to come together to get over their differences, and divide the items on the child’s wish list.  It’s equally important not to use gift buying as a way to score points with the other parent.  These are things that must be hashed out between parents before the season to avoid complications.

Lastly, it’s is important to understand that the holidays may be tinged with some amount of sadness for every child whose parents are divorced.  This is unavoidable.

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