For recently divorced parents, managing divorce through the holidays can be an especially difficult time for both you, your children and your entire family. This is especially true if your children are spending the holidays with the other parent. There can be feelings of depression and loss on the part of the parent who feels left out, and it can be tempting to all but ignore the holiday altogether.
Many parents who feel this way avoid going out with their friends and celebrating with other family members, determined to avoid any holiday cheer in the absence of their children. For some, this feels like an act of love, a confirmation of how important their children are to them. They feel that celebrating without their kids would be a betrayal, and that by voiding their own happiness during the holidays they are paying some sort of parental penance.
Here are a few tips on managing your divorce during the holidays to help you (and your family!), just in time for this festive season.
Children Know When Youâ€™re Unhappy
Children tend to be very self-centred by nature – itâ€™s a part of growing up. As a result, it can be easy to forget that our kids notice more than they let on a lot of the time. Even if you think your emotional distress is being hidden, itâ€™s likely that theyâ€™ll still pick up on it on some level, especially if your plans for the holidays involve isolating yourself from family and friends.
Your kids love you, and older children are usually smart enough to figure out that you didnâ€™t have a fabulous time holed up in your bedroom during the holidays. As a result, parental depression during the holidays can be a dark cloud over a childâ€™s time with the other side of the family. No matter how sad you feel when your kids leave for the holidays, no parent wants to spoil that time for their child.
Your Emotions Affect Your Children
Itâ€™s important for parents to try and keep up their outside relationships and enjoy the holidays as much as is possible without their kids. It will be easier for the children to enjoy their own holidays with one parent if they know the other parent is spending time with family and friends.
Putting effort into your own happiness will benefit your children in many ways, especially when it comes to coping with a parental divorce. Parents who adjust and accept the situation set a good example for their children when it comes to coping with adversity.
We hope this advice helps you to get the next season with poise and strength! Are you managing a divorce during the holidays? Any insight or resources you can share with our readers that have helped you?
Happy holidays from Jones Divorce Mediation Inc., and our entire team in Calgary!