When Florida parents go through a divorce or a separation, the holidays can be hard for them and their children. All of them may be feeling any number of emotions that could include anger, sadness, loss and betrayal. However, parents need to set those emotions aside so they can concentrate on their children and make sure their holidays are happy.

Family and friends or professionals, such as therapists, can help parents work through their emotions at this time so they do not direct them at their ex-spouse. It is important that instead of trying to punish the other parent by keeping the children away during the holidays, parents encourage children to enjoy themselves with that parent.

A clear plan for the holidays that is shared with children can help reduce their anxiety about the holidays. Parents should not question their children when they return from the other parent’s house. Their attitude should be one of allowing children to share as much as they are comfortable with and listening in a positive and nonjudgmental manner. As new traditions take hold, parents and children will start to adjust, but this process will take some time, so parents will need to be patient.

Where children will spend their holidays is sometimes decided upon by parents during child custody negotiations or by a judge. Whether it is done at the time of the divorce or later, there are different approaches parents can take, and in some cases, children may want input into how they will spend the holiday as well. For example, some parents take turns having the children with them in alternate years. Others may have the children split their time over the holiday. Parents’ negotiations during divorce might also tackle other issues including how children will spend their vacations and even concerns about what household rules they will follow.