Friday, December 22, 2017

Post Divorce Holidays - GUEST POST

This is a guest post from Alexis Hall 

Making the best of the holidays for your kids post-divorce

Divorce is difficult for your kids, and if it’s recent, getting through the holidays can be especially difficult for everyone involved. But, there are plenty of ways to make the season less painful and help all of you get through it peacefully.

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Attitude is everything

Encouragement and security.  Your first holiday season after a divorce will be a hard one for your entire family.  Even with encouragement and support from both you and your ex, your children will need reassurance and love.  According to FamilyEducation, you should let your kids know you understand they are feeling sad, worried, and perhaps angry.  Tell them those feelings are okay; things are different, and change is difficult.  Encourage them to remember good times from the past and reassure them there will be more good times to come.  

Be congenial.  Keep relations with your ex positive. Your children will be looking at your interactions together as a predictor of future holidays. Setting a good tone will give them hope.  Make sure both your behavior and your words regarding your ex are positive; if not, your children will pick up on it.


Traditions.  You don’t need to leave old traditions behind, as they may provide some comfort to your children. Experts suggest that if your schedule doesn’t allow a tradition to fall when it normally would, adjust. For instance, if you normally exchange candy on a particular evening and your kids are spending that night elsewhere, bump the event up to the night before they leave.  Also talk with the kids about starting a new tradition.  Let them pick something that excites them, whether you make gingerbread houses, go sledding, or binge watch classic holiday movies together.  Maybe your ex can begin some different traditions as well.  

Gifts.  Discuss the children’s gifts with your ex.  You don’t want the kids to be disappointed, but you don’t want them to be overindulged, either.  If you normally picked out a gift for your ex with your children, keep that tradition going.  Consider connecting during holiday gift exchanges, if you can.  Some people opt for employing technology by using Skype or FaceTime.  Another option suggested by Huffington Post is actually spending the event together with your ex.  
You could even move it to a new location like another family member’s home.  

Keep connections

Extended family.  Include the entire extended family in the holidays, from your ex’s side as well as yours.  Even if you don’t see these people in person, exchanging cards and emails, connecting through social media, or talking on the phone can be helpful.  Knowing they are still connected will allow your children to feel more secure.  Also as pointed out by Psychology Today, family members may not know how to act.  This year you set the tone for them, just like you do with the kids.  Keep things warm and positive.  It tells them how they will be treated at future events, and how you would like to be treated.

Know your limits.  If you find it difficult maintaining positivity around your ex for an extended period of time, experts advise against forcing time together.  Creating tension can spoil the holidays for everyone.  Also sometimes children develop a false hope that the family will be reunited.  Find a realistic and positive balance.

Get through the holidays together.  Your family is being redefined, and the holidays will be difficult. Keep a good attitude, celebrate both the old and new, and stay connected with the whole family. This holiday season will be a new beginning for you all.  You can get through the tough parts together.