How to Handle the Holidays

Why parental cooperation is the greatest gift you can give your child.
Anders Wenngren

Anders Wenngren

Having divorced parents can be particularly hard for children during the holidays. So "you want your gift to your child to be one of cooperative parents," says Edward Teyber, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at California State University, San Bernardino, and author of Helping Children Cope With Divorce. To protect your child from conflict, he suggests these strategies:

  • Talk to your ex about how much to spend on gifts and who'll buy what.
  • Be accommodating with your schedules. For instance, your child can have a holiday breakfast with one parent and a special dinner with the other.
  • Establish your own tradition if you don't have your child during the holidays.
  • Let your child know she doesn't have to choose between you and your ex: "I know your mom misses you. It's okay to call and tell her you miss her too."

Copyright © 2001. Reprinted with permission from the December/January 2002 issue of Child magazine.

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