Going through a divorce with the holidays approaching can be difficult for a family. Moving to a new home, an absent spouse or reduced income can all impact your children as the holiday season approaches. Offering support will help your kids navigate the festivities.
It is tempting to bombard your children with activities and gifts during the holiday seasons to provide some distraction from changes in the family resulting from separation or divorce. As adults, we often keep emotions at arms length by staying busy and not discussing painful circumstances. However, when it comes to kids, experts believe kids can benefit from quiet, reflective time when grappling with the fallout of divorce. They also need to know it is ok to discuss family changes openly – the good and the bad.
Your holiday routine will inevitably change after divorce, so now is the time to enlist your children in creating a new life. Many experts agree that it is important to discuss how some things will remain the same and what might be different as you close in on the holidays. Check in with your kids on what family routines have been most special and how to continue some version of that tradition following a divorce. Allow them to suggest new rituals to begin building new memories moving forward.
Try as you may, this may not turn out to be the best holiday, but it is ok. There will likely be a mishmash of happy and sad feelings as you navigate the first Thanksgiving, Christmas or other holiday following a break-up. Although change is tough on kids, take heart – with your support, they are learning a valuable life lesson about how to work through problems and build a new future. Emerging stronger after life throws a curve ball can help your children become resilient, thoughtful adults.
Source: latimes.com, “Rescuing the Holiday: Advice for Families Facing Not-So-Merry Circumstances”, by Heidi Stevens, accessed November 20, 2014.