Dealing with Divorce During the Holidays: Keeping Things Merry For the Kids

 When parents divorce, a child’s ability to cope will not only depend on their age and maturity, but also the amount of love and support their parents provide during the adjustment period.

Holidays have the potential to be particularly difficult for children of divorced parents, especially the first holiday season a child experiences after the divorce.

Cathy Meyer, a Certified Divorce Coach, Marriage Educator, and legal investigator shares some of her suggestions on how to deal with a child’s “holiday blues” post divorce. She writes:

  • “Offer Understanding:

Your children may feel blue about facing the Holidays without both parents in the home. Many times a parent will be unaware of how their children are feeling because they hold back in order to not cause a parent discomfort.

As a parent, you can let your children know that they are safe expressing their feelings. Especially any negative feelings they are experiencing. Show your children that you understand and that their feelings are normal. Your availability, willingness to listen and validate their feelings will relieve a great amount of the sadness your child may be feelings.

  • Be Cordial To Your Ex:

Your attitude toward your ex during this important time of the year will provide your children with hope that their parents can at least be friends. Parents who get along give their children the most important gift they will ever receive, during the holidays and every other day of the year. So, step up and take the high road for your children’s sake.

  • Involve Your Child in Decision Making:

When parents divorce, children feel a lack of control. They have no voice in whether or not their family stays together. During Christmas and on other special occasions giving your children some control over how they spend their time lessens the stress of feeling out of control.

This can be especially important for older children. They may be scheduled to spend time with the non-custodial parent when they would rather be hanging out with friends. Give your child the option of bringing a friend along or planning activities with friends during their time with you. Take advantage of holiday visitation but allow your child to have an active role in planning any activities you will be doing together.

  • Create New Holiday Traditions:

Do away with holiday traditions that cause emotional pain for your children. Create new traditions that your children can look forward to doing with you in your home. Encourage their father to create his own traditions to share in the home he is making for his children.

Showing your children compassion for the sadness they are experiencing and teaching them coping strategies will not only help them through this first, post divorce holiday season but also long after the holidays pass.”

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