The holidays are rapidly approaching. While this may conjure up memories of family, food and celebration, for families who are going through a divorce this can be a challenging time.
Therapists believe it is better to keep things simple through the holidays for families who are going through this major domestic change. They say divorced parents should understand that even the most significant effort to make children happy, may not be successful. Kids may need to express their unhappiness that their mom and dad are not together, even at the most joyful time of the year.
So how do you navigate this new situation and make it the best possible experience?
Here are a few tips from family therapists:
Make a Plan: Talk to your former spouse about a schedule. Who will have the children on which holiday and for how long? What will the pickup/drop off situation be for these days? Fill your kids in on this plan.
Don’t play “I can top that”: This isn’t the time to compete with your former partner–although you may be tempted to. Lead by example for your kids. Show them that a good holiday doesn’t mean breaking the bank to be the “better” parent.
Keep Your Emotions in Check: Try not to show your anger or sadness about the situation to your children. Chances are they are having a tough time. Don’t burden them with your issues. Talk to a friend or family member to vent your frustration.
Start New Traditions: This may be the beginning of a new family arrangement for you and your kids so this can be the perfect time to start new traditions. Ask them what they would like to do to change up the holiday. The new normal can be fun and exciting.
Keep in mind the holidays are more for the children than for you. Try to put aside your feelings for this period. It may lead to a more joyful season for everyone.