4 Common Holiday Parenting Mistakes

Divorce andThe Santa Clause

In the holiday classic,The Santa Clause, Tim Allen’s character is a divorced father who inadvertently becomes Santa Claus. Tim Allen’s pre-Santa Claus character makes numerous single parent mistakes around the holiday.

Based on his divorce agreement, Tim Allen’s character has his son on Christmas Eve. He stays too late at an office Christmas party and is late to picking his son up. His son is well aware of sarcastic comments and snide remarks that Tim Allen makes about his ex-wife’s new husband. He and his ex-wife argue on Christmas Eve to the point that their son does not want to stay with him. Tim Allen is unprepared for dinner and shocked that a turkey would take 4 hours to cook. He eventually burns dinner, and the two of them must resort to eating Christmas Eve dinner at a Denny’s. Here, the restaurant is filled with Japanese businessmen and other single fathers who have also burned their Christmas Eve dinners.

So here are some tips for being a good single parent at Christmas:

1. Plan Ahead

The number one mistake Tim Allen’s character makes is not planning ahead. He is late to meet his son and ex-wife. He doesn’t have a dinner plan and then burns dinner. He tries to go out to eat, but the only restaurant still open is Denny’s. The holidays can quickly get crazy, so a little advance planning will reduce everyone’s stress and frustration.

2. Be flexible

While planning ahead of time will reduce stress, staying flexible will also keep everyone calm. You can plan many things, but many things you cannot plan for. People can get sick. Weather becomes terrible. Holiday crowds are overwhelming. Keep flexible in case the plans need to change.

3. Keep it simple

With so many things outside your control around the holidays, don’t try to do too much. Later in the movie, after Tim Allen becomes Santa Claus, he tries to deliver presents to all the good children of the world and spend Christmas Eve with his son. There are only so many hours in the day, even for Santa Clause. Keep your plans simple so no one gets overloaded or stressed out.

4. Listen

Tim Allen repeatedly ignores his son’s concerns on Christmas Eve, making the holiday pretty miserable for his son. Don’t be so focused on planning an enjoyable holiday that the holiday ends up not being fun. Listen to what the kids want to do and take that into account when you are planning for the holiday events.

Some of the best memories (or worst) can be made at Christmas. A little advanced planning combined with flexibility and simplicity will make the holiday better for everyone. Just imagine sitting around the table when your children are grown and telling stories that begin with “Do you remember the Christmas when…?”

David S. Bouschor, II is a board certified family law attorney in Denton, Texas. He has handled thousands of child custody and divorce cases in over 25 years of practice. To schedule an appointment with David S. Bouschor II, call (940) 323-1300.

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