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Tips for a peaceful holiday post-custody arrangement

When you ask many parents, post-divorce or right after a new custody arrangement, many will say that the holidays are one of the tougher moments for a new family dynamic to adjust. This is because the holidays are likely centered around traditions steeped in family members playing certain roles around holiday time. That coupled with a change in cash flow due to new living arrangements can really change how the holidays look after a child custody arrangement is determined. So when it comes to the holidays, how does a parent promote peace after a relatively new custody arrangement?

Sometimes, when the holidays suddenly seem unfamiliar and daunting, it can be good to look forward to something. With the turn of the new year just around the corner, it can be helpful to focus on 2017 both for yourself and for your kids. This is a great way to focus energy of everyone in the house toward positive change. It's also helpful to avoid trying to 'one up' the other parent during the holidays since the kids already likely feel the strain due to the change in home environment.

Small adjustments, like being flexible, may sound simple. The reality is that being able to work around last-minute changes can be best for everyone involved. Don't forget to take some time for yourself periodically, enjoy your favorite work-out or make time for friends. Your happiness can and will reflect on others around you. New child custody arrangements can be initially challenging, especially around the holidays.

But this is no reason to think that new holiday traditions cannot begin with the new living arrangement. Instead of focusing on the old, make room for new holiday traditions. The more at peace you, the parent, becomes the easier the transition will be for the children. That is who all child custody arrangements focus on, and most any parent will do their best to make a positive holiday environment post-custody arrangement.

Source:, "Promoting peace at the holidays," Stacy D. Phillips, Dec. 20, 2016

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