In part four of the divorced dad series, we touched on the turmoil a divorced father goes through. In this article, we will look at the strategies for divorced dads through the holiday season.
Holidays are difficult not only for the children but for the parents as well. It is even more difficult for the father. In the advent of the divorce, it is usually the dad who leaves the home and getting back in there is not only awkward but a little hard; it’s not your territory anymore.
Divide and Conquer
Discuss with your ex-wife scheduling. Include the children and ask for their opinion on the matter, plan activities that you can all spend in neutral territory. Try not to overcompensate by giving your children an overabundance of gifts. Gifts won’t make the situation easier. What’s more, you will teach them that love can be bought. Now, that doesn’t mean to be a cheapskate, just don’t overdo it.
Better yet, make it easier for the kids by going shopping together. Help them pick gifts for their mom and the new stepdad if there is one. Shopping is usually girls bonding time (am I stereotyping there…hmm maybe a bit), by doing this your children will see that you are really making an effort to be with them.
Even the most trivial things make for fun activities. Involve the kids on stuff like writing greeting cards, licking the envelope close and sticking on the stamp will make them feel like you need them. Gift wrapping also makes for a great activity.
If you live somewhere that has snow use this as an opportunity to have a great time. Play around. Snowball fights, tobogganing, skiing, snowboarding or building a snowman can create lasting memories.
Another way to spend some quality time with the children during the holidays is by filling the house with decorations. Find the perfect Christmas tree for the house, it is also recommended that you bring them along and let them choose the tree themselves, decorating the Christmas tree with the kids is a fun experience for divorced dads. This can also help you connect with the children after going through all the mishaps that divorce brings.
Showing them that you care
During the holidays, giving the kids gifts is a way to show kids that you love them, but writing them Christmas cards is a way of showing them how much you love them and letting them know that despite their parents marriage working out, you are showing them that your relationship with them will always be the same. Writing them cards for them to read on Christmas day is way better than giving material things. It is showing them what you feel deep inside and letting them know that they are always in your heart.
A day out with the kids
Holidays can be very lonely for divorced dads, which is why it is nice to plan a day out with the kids. You can plan a road trip with them, visiting their grandparents. Being on the road with your children is also a nice way to bond with them once again. Ask them to plan the trip with you can excite the kids, ask them where they want to go to spend their day with their father.
Bring along your cameras to document the special day you have with them for all of you to cherish plus its great ammo for future wedding fodder. When the kids are all grown up, they can look back on these pictures and videos of you with them, by this time they understand that despite their parents are divorced, they still have a father in you.
In closing, being a divorced dad is not the end of the world although at times it can feel like it. With 38% of marriages ending in divorce, there’s lots of company out there for men and women. Check out Facebook or Meetup and to find a local men’s group. Connecting with men is a great way to share your experiences and learn from other men who have gone through the wars and lived to tell their story. In the end, it’s about attitude, strength and commitment to being the worlds greatest dad.
Stay strong, my brother!