Every family is unique. Therefore, every family experiences holidays differently, regardless of whether it is a “traditional” family or not. Holidays could trigger positive or negative emotions in individual family members, depending on what each of them is experiencing.
Intact families (i.e. those whose structure has not changed due to life-altering events such as death, separation, divorce and remarriage) might experience holidays differently in the sense that the members might not need to worry about where and how they will spend any given holiday.
By contrast, reorganized families (i.e. those whose structure has changed due to life-altering events such as death, separation, divorce and remarriage) might experience holidays differently in the sense that the members might have to grapple with issues such as:
- Which of the parents or parent figures spends time with the minor child or children during a given holiday period?
- How much time does each parent spend with the minor child or children during a given holiday period?
- What if it is just one day (a public holiday)? Which parent or parent figure gets to spend the day with the child or children? What if the holiday is too short (a long weekend, from Friday to Monday? What if the two restructured family units are geographically too far apart to share the time equally with the child or children?
- What if the child or children prefer(s) spending time with one parent or parent figure?
- What if some or all of the questions raised above cause the child or children to be tense, anxious, fearful, resentful, sad, angry, moody, miserable, depressed?
- How can the adults in reorganized families make parenting time more about the children’s best interests than theirs?
- What if the parents or parent figures do not get along and are not able to communicate effectively?
- What if there is no trust between the parents or parent figures?
- What if one of the adults has or both of them have a history of drug and/or alcohol addiction?
- What if there is a history of domestic and/or sexual violence between the parents or parent figures?
- What if one or both adults suffer(s) from mental and/or emotional illness?
- What if one of the adults is or both of them are disabled?
In most societies, children are taught and socialized to believe in their uniqueness. For instance, most parents and parent figures in intact families understand this concept and tend to raise and nurture each child according to his or her unique needs, attributes and disposition. Why do the same adults in reorganized families seem not to understand the need to develop and implement individualized parenting plans for their child or children once the original family unit is dismantled and reorganized due to life-altering events such as death, separation, divorce and remarriage?
As much as no family unit wishes to experience the type of life-altering events referenced above, parents and other parent figures should seek appropriate resources and seize the moment to embrace the challenge of tapping into their creative abilities to establish workable, flexible and adaptable parenting plans to match the unique and changing needs of each child, to ensure his or her mental and emotional stability and protect him or her from being scarred or traumatized permanently.
That is the best possible gift to give to each child, regardless of whether his or her family unit is “intact” or not. It is quite possible that children, whose parents or parent figures are invested enough in their well-being to devote the time and resources to develop and implement workable parenting plans might thrive and do much better than might be the case, if their family unit(s) had remained “intact” but tumultuous, due to incessant disputes.
Contact Law Office of Eshigo P. Okasili, LLC today to answer your questions about Separation, Absolute Divorce, Child Custody, Visitation, Parenting Plans, Mediation and Collaborative Process.