Divorced/Separated Families and the Holidays
For many, Christmas is “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year”, but this isn’t always the case for families and children of separation and divorce. This can often be a stressful and challenging time, bringing up emotions that are difficult and confusing to deal with.
As a parent or a primary support in a child’s life, there are many things that you can do to help the holidays be a little more “Merry and Bright” for them and your family. Below are tips you might find useful:
• Put your children first.
• Don’t change what doesn’t need changing. Kids like traditions and routine. Ask your kids what they want to keep.
• Create new rituals and routines, but don’t try to cram too much into one day.
• Plan ahead and be very specific with your kids about holiday plans and schedules. Be willing to change those plans if needed.
• Help kids buy/make gifts for you ex and his/her family.
• Don’t try to make up for your own feelings of guilt or sadness with expensive gifts. Consider coordinating for your kids gifts with your ex. Keep all extended family involved.
• Keep yourself healthy. Try to be upbeat and optimistic about Christmas. Your kids will likely reflect your attitude.
• Think about what your kids are going through and try to imagine how they will remember this Christmas years from now.
• Make every effort to get along with your ex.
• Give your child the gift of permission to love both parents.
Tips For those Working with Children or in a Supporting Role
• Let kids know you are there to listen and help.
• Show kids that you understand their feelings.
• Offer encouraging words.
• Be a source of stability.
• Encourage kids to be kids. Give them some “down time” from the stress of the holiday and the divorce.