If you are beginning the divorce process, the holiday season can bring up emotional stress. In the past, your family may have enjoyed holiday traditions as a family. However, things will change, and the holiday season will be spent without children present or celebrated on alternate days to accommodate parenting time schedules. Children will adapt if their parents are handling the change with composure. In the weeks leading up to the holiday season, discuss how you plan to celebrate the holidays once the divorce is final. If your children are old enough, have a family meeting to discuss the change in the holiday family traditions. Reassure them that celebrating the holidays with each parent separately is fine and that many of their classmates have two holiday celebrations.
The first holiday during a divorce will be fraught with memories of previous holidays and traditions you once shared. Expect to feel sad and remember that your children will be experiencing their own set of feeling. Have open discussions with your children, if appropriate, about how the change is affecting them. Use this year to make new traditions. If you have always spent Thanksgiving with your spouse’s family, consider visiting yours for a change. Consider volunteering at a local soup kitchen or having a Friendsgiving. When dealing with a divorce, try not to focus on how things were, but how you can redefine or improve your holiday traditions.
One of the most important things to discuss about this holiday season is parenting time. Part of dealing with divorce, especially when you have children, is not letting bitterness color the holiday for you or your children. The other thing to remember is to not speak ill of the other parent to your kids as children can self-identify with the other parent. Refrain from complaining to your children about having to “share” them for the holidays as children have a right to be a child. If your children are old enough to understand what is happening, chances are they already feel guilty about not being able to see both parents on Thanksgiving.
While a life transition like divorce can consume your thoughts and emotions, remember the holidays are meant to be a time of peace. The very definition of Thanksgiving is “giving thanks.” Take some time to sit down and write out what you are thankful for. Life transitions are never easy, and there may be days where all you want to do is escape the situation. By taking little steps at a time, you and your children will be able to adapt.
If you are struggling with post-judgment parenting time or other issues, the team at Melissa Pearce & Associates is here to help bring back the peace in your holiday season. Call us today at (248)329-0344 to discuss your options.