Divorce and the holidays

A friend sent me this excellent article by Alan Ravitz at the NYU Child Study Center about making decisions during the holidays for divorced or divorcing couples. It goes along with the suggestions you all made months ago about considering what's best for the kids, and doing those things even when it makes you uncomfortable.

These were the things that jumped out at me:

"We know that kids do best when raised in an environment in which theirphysiological needs are consistently, predictably, and lovingly met. But in order for them to develop the capacity to initiate and sustain healthy interpersonal relationships throughout their lives, their emotional needs must be addressed as well. For children of divorce, this includes overt and covert permission from each parent to maintain a loving, intimate relationship with the other."

And then this:

"Imagine what it must be like for a child to know full well that if his mother is happy, his father must be sad—or vice versa. Is this the model of relationships you want to convey to your children? One in which interpersonal relationships are zero-sum games, every decision is a conflict, and there is no such thing as compromise, only victory or defeat."

Want to talk about the things that hurt or the things that made you feel good growing up with divorced parents? Or how you do things now and how you like them?

I'll start: This was probably the easiest part of our entire settlement! We've been alternating which family gets Thanksgiving and Christmas for years, so we just stuck with the same schedule. No fuss, and no difficult negotiations (so far) and no hurt feelings, because it's just the schedule--it's nothing anyone "wins." Of course we won't know how the kids feel about it for years. But it's one of the things I feel most confident with and happy about in our whole situation.