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Holiday Swapping Tips: Respect, Relax, & Rejoice
(provided by Deborah J. Schmidt, MA)

Holidays can induce every high & low emotion. So, here are some measures to minimize the stress you and your ex-spouse contribute to the season:

Respect~ Be Gracious

Some inequity is usually present after divorce. Your new household, short on cash or overflowing with extended family, is not dealing with the same burdens as your ex-spouse's family, but theirs are real to them.

Respect differences, you may not change these: Faith, Financial, Family ties. Acknowledge limitations, these are not anyone's fault: Time, Energy, or Travel. Avoid turning a failure into blame game, because your child still feels like half of each of you. When you show respect, you get respect!

Relax~ Be Patient; Take your TIME

TIME is the most precious commodity for all of us during the holidays. "Budget" schedules according to your child's needs. Streamline your travel to hit the highlights. Watch your child for signs of stress; listen when they talk to you. Go home early or take a walk, just the two of you. Give them the gift of your undivided attention.

Rejoice~ Be Grateful

Avoid the mental trap that the other family has an easier time than you do. Allow your child the right and privilege to be a full member of both households. Support the child in their happiness, whatever it's about.

Even if you are hurting inside, do not allow it to steal one ounce of their joy. Save this information for later. Most young kids cannot distinguish between your attitude towards the event and towards them. If you express hurt or disdain, they question if they can tell you the next thing that comes up in their little world. Most of all, they don't want to hurt you. If you show joy when they talk, then the next time they want to rejoice, you'll be the first one they remember.

Information provided by:
Deborah J. Schmidt, MA

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