Divorce is never easy, but it’s not just tough on the adults involved. A Michigan divorce can also have long-lasting or even lifetime effects on your kids, including behavioral or social issues and future trust issues within relationships. But kids are also resilient and bounce back when the proper support and understanding is given. The time frame and thoroughness of their healing is heavily dependent on how well you work together as parents even after the divorce. That includes how you behave during holidays. Your first instinct may be to rush out and buy them a pony to make sure they smile and are happy again. But this isn’t about you right now. So put down the classifieds, step away from the stable ads on Craigslist, and read through this gift-giving guide for divorced parents before making some common but potentially serious mistakes this holiday season.
Keep a United Front and Agree Upon a Non-Compete Clause
Parents love seeing their kids’ faces light up and knowing they’ve played the hero, especially when their quality time is split or limited. But there will be plenty of options to be an actual hero to your kids, so holidays and other gift-giving opportunities shouldn’t be included in that plan. Not only will it set a precedence that they can twist you around their pinky, but it can also humiliate or shame the other parent. So set a non-compete clause early and stick to it for the health and happiness of your kids.
Try to Plan and Coordinate Gifts
True happiness and the best memories don’t come in a box, but gifts should still be meaningful. This is especially the case when finances are tighter following a Michigan divorce. An easy way to ensure this happens is to listen to your kids, know their needs versus fleeting desires, and plan their gifts. Try coordinating gift ideas with your ex to see what can be done to cover the big things on the list without going into debt or stressing out over the holidays. That way, you can avoid wasting time and money by doubling up on gifts as well.
Avoid Dramatic Outbursts and Undermining the Ex
Gift-giving is often a personal experience, and as much as parents may try to compromise, disagreements and negative thoughts are bound to occur. Welcome to joint custody. However, post-divorce holidays need to be focused on the blessings and positive growth potential for the entire family, so try to avoid dramatic outbursts and undermining the ex. Yes, some of their gifts of choice may lack the common sense or age/maturity appropriateness you feel your kids need. But remember the other parent is trying too. So keep tempers in check and focus on the big picture.
Help Your Kids Buy or Make Something Special for the Other Parent
Just because you’re not married anymore does not mean your ex loves the kids any less or deserves any less love in return from them. So discuss appropriate gift ideas with your kids if they’re old enough to make those decisions and discuss gift-giving options for each other with your ex if the kids are too young to suggest appropriate options. Just don’t be upset or resentful if your ex doesn’t return the favor. It’s about teaching your kids respect which can go a long way towards transforming a stressful Michigan divorce into a positive future for the entire family.