National holidays often come with a cultural celebration of family, and while these holidays are often known for the joy they bring, they are also notorious for the stress they induce. So, when one is experiencing the holidays newly divorced, it can be especially hard to feel merry. For the newly divorced with children, the stress can be even more heightened.
While the logistics of planning out who will get the kids during the holidays has been covered on this blog before, one subtopic that bears addressing is making children feel comfortable during holiday celebrations. After all, they are still likely processing their parent’s divorce.
How to prepare for the holidays
Communicate: There might be an itch and an urge to push through the holiday and not acknowledge the rapidly shifted circumstances. But, by speaking plainly about how celebrations will be different, it could help build trust and keep children’s stress levels lower.
Starting new traditions: This can be a tricky line to tow. After all, speaking to the jarring effects of divorce, some may think there is comfort in previous traditions. And while completely abandoning every facet of those traditions may be ill-advised, there can value and even excitement in starting new traditions. An article on Divorce Mag speaks more in-depth as to the value of refreshing these traditions.
Gift giving: While parents may want to spoil their children, it can be important to balance out the gift-giving. Otherwise, an innocent purchase could be seen as trying to win favors, which unfortunately could work on the kids.
Approaching a traditional family holiday with non-traditional circumstances can be difficult. It’s ok to need help. Reaching out to professional counsel who is familiar with working through the logistics of divorce and who can be informative when it comes to raising children can be extremely helpful