Chanukah with divorced parents

4 Tips For Chanukah With Divorced Parents

December 3, 2018
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Chanukah holiday in a divorced family

As you may know, Chanukah begins early this year, on Sunday, December 2nd.  Normal tensions that exist within a divorced family can be greatly exacerbated during the holidays when things such as parents unable to handle emotional toll, the change the divorce takes on the children, who the children will spend the holiday with, gift giving on a different budge, and the guilt of the separation can all play a factor.

Here are a 4 tips to get you through the holiday with your sanity intact:

1. Focus On Your Children

If this is the first year that you are celebrating the holidays in separate households it could certainly bring up a lot of feelings and emotions tied to the divorce. It’s important to focus on your children and their individual needs; if your child processes things better by themselves give them that alone time, however, if they like to talk things over make sure they know you’re available as well.

2. Maintain Traditions

Try to maintain traditions to the best of your ability, but also create new traditions that you can build each year. Chanukah is a holiday centered around oil after all, so if you previously cooked together maybe try different recipes to bring everyone together. If you don’t cook, you can order a special fried dinner, where everyone gets to order what they’d like to indulge in for the holiday.

3. Plan Ahead

It is imperative not to wait until the last minute to discuss your holiday plans with the other parent because you’ll both end up wanting to be with the children at the same time resulting in an unnecessary argument. If you have a pre-arranged holiday parenting time agreement stick to it, but if not, put your request or agreed upon schedule, in an email or text so you can both be accountable to the schedule. You should be flexible and reasonable when it comes to your holiday time request.

More importantly, as noted above, keep the focus on the children – so if they ask to spend an extra day with mom or the weekend with dad, let them do what works best for them. While celebrating Christmas after a divorce can be more challenging because the holiday is only two days, Chanukah, being eight days, presents an equal opportunity for both parents to enjoy and celebrate with their children.

4. Set a Budget With The Other Parent

Getting a divorce can cause a parent immense guilt when it comes to the effect the separation has on their children. It can also cause a parent to feel that they are in competition with the other parent for their children’s affection. While it might be tempting to compensate or outdo the other parent by buying your children expensive gifts, you should refrain from doing so. If possible, speak to the other parent about setting a budget, how many presents the kids will receive this year or even about the possibility of buying certain gifts jointly. You will both most likely be in a position where money is a bit tighter and compromise would be mutually advantageous. It is equally beneficial to the parents and the children, should you be buying separate gifts and be in different financial positions, that you refrain from making snide comments about the gift or the gift giver. This will only hurt your children.

Chanukah, and the holiday season in general, is an important time to embrace family and tradition. Don’t be the parent that makes your child question that enjoyment.