The most wonderful time of the year can also be the most stressful and isolating. Expectations of good cheer are high during the holiday season, which can bring extra tension to couples that have just gone through a divorce, especially when children are involved. The pressure to provide the perfect holiday for your family and kids is unrealistic and should not dictate whether or not you’re a good parent. A recent divorce can make this time of year difficult for both you and your children. Here are some tips to help stay in good spirits.
Keep the kids involved
Don’t make decisions without knowing how the kids feel and what’s important to them. Let them have a say in your family’s holiday plans so that they feel empowered, since they didn’t have a say in the decision to divorce. Your kids will respect you more if they have a sense of control in the family plans (of course the amount of input depends on their age).
Create new traditions
All traditions have to begin sometime. Start new holiday activities with the kids based on different living situations or family schedules—maybe Dad’s new home is near an ice skating rink or Mom now lives close to a chop-your-own tree farm.
Depending on your relationship with your ex, it may or may not be a good idea to be together with the children during the holidays. If there is a chance of tension or arguing, it will be better for everyone to have separate family gatherings. You and your ex should not subject the kids to adult issues, especially during this sensitive time of year.
Spend time with other loved ones
If you always spent the holidays with your ex’s side of the family, you now have time to be with other friends or family instead. Perhaps you never had time to visit an extended family member, or want to see your friend’s new baby… this is the time to do so! When your children are spending time with your ex, use this time alone to see people you want to see (or have quality me-time!)
Wishing you a happy holiday season! Contact Whole Mediation for a free-one hour divorce mediation consultation.