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3 tips for buying presents for the kids after divorce

When it comes time to shop for holiday gifts, pleasing the children as much as possible -- within the budget, of course -- is a primary concern for most parents in Virginia. But for parents who have gone through divorce, there is an additional wrinkle. You must plan, knowing that there will likely be two sets of presents: one with you, and one with your ex-husband or wife.

For this reason, figuring out what to get the kids can be more complicated than it used to be. For example, each parent could accidently get one child two of the same gift. Or one parent could get a gift that is inappropriate for the other’s home. In some cases, divorced parents see the holiday season as an opportunity to outdo the other to “buy” the kids’ love.

This is not a recipe for a happy holidays in the long run. Though it may be too late for this year, here are some tips for a successful gift shopping plan:

  • Work together. If possible, coordinate with your ex. This will keep things on a reasonable budget, since the two of you can split up the wish list, while avoiding duplication.
  • Don’t put conditions on the present. Some parents tell their kids that a gift can only be used at their house. This can be an attempt to manipulate the child, making the present a source of distress rather than pleasure.
  • Consider the other parent. Given the above tip, you should expect that the child will bring the gift to your ex’s house. If something would not fit or make the other parent uncomfortable, do not get it -- not matter how tempting it may be to “get” him or her.

Source: Chicago Sun-Times, “After divorce, kids’ gifts can get tricky,” Leanne Italie, Dec. 24, 2013

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