Handling the Holidays: SmolenPlevy Shares Tips for Divorced Parents on Air
The holidays are a time for family, which often makes this time of year hard on children of divorced or separated parents. SmolenPlevy co-founding Principal Alan Plevy shared tips on how divorced parents can make the holiday season more enjoyable for everyone on NBC Washington. Principal Kyung (Kathryn) Dickerson joined Plevy on NewsChannel 8’s Let’s Talk Live and was also featured on WNEW to offer divorced parents some practical holiday suggestions.
Most divorced couples find it difficult to fairly divvy up time with their children. Plevy and Dickerson both agree that parents should come up with a plan for when and where their children will be well ahead of time to avoid unnecessary confusion and stress. Plevy suggests divorced parents confirm their plan in writing via text message or e-mail to minimize family tension and avoid confusion.
Dickerson says another problem divorced parents face is holiday gift-giving. Separated couples often engage in gifting competition and end up leaving the holidays overwhelmed and in debt. Plevy says avoiding competition is key and that divorced parents should be mindful of their ex’s financial situation when picking out presents.
Another present problem arises when children haul their gifts from one home to another. “If they have to open a present at one parents house and then leave it, it’s not much of a holiday for them,” Dickerson points out. Parents also often struggle with unwanted gifts (like pets) and lack of storage space for excess toys. Dickerson says, “Don’t give the child or children any present that you do not want to have in your house.”
Blended families coming together for the first time with separate traditions can also add to holiday havoc. Plevy recommends parents tackle this issue by creating new holiday traditions. He says, “This is a new chapter, this is a new family. It’s the time to start anew with the children.” Doing so eases tension by having the children focus on fun instead of the fact that their family isn’t all together.
Above all else, children want their parents to be happy and peaceful during the holidays, which means adults should be mindful of never speaking badly about the other parent or that parent’s extended family. Both Plevy and Dickerson suggest divorced parents should keep it as simple as possible to curb confusion, frustration and hard feelings during the holidays.
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Watch Plevy and Dickerson on Let’s Talk Live: