Divorce is hard on everyone involved; it is tough for two spouses who had built a life together to watch that life fall apart. It’s hard to think about someone moving out of the home you made as a couple, and hard to think about waking up alone instead of beside your spouse. Those feelings of stress, emotion, anxiety, worry and sadness are magnified if children are involved. Not only do you have to rebuild your life, you have to do it while continuing to be the best parent you possibly can to your children.
At no time during the year is it more important to minimize the impact of divorce on children than it is during the holiday season. Holidays should be a magical time for kids, full of toys, celebration, presents and fun, but holiday traditions and a celebratory atmosphere can be tarnished by a messy divorce.
While nothing will change the fact that your child’s life – both during the holidays and beyond – will be different following a divorce, there are ways to lessen the impact on your child so that he or she can still have a joyous holiday season and a good life the whole year round.
If you have older children, there is a good chance that you have already established holiday traditions as a family that may seem “off” without your former spouse participating. Nevertheless, it is still important that you have fun with your children. The thought of putting on a “happy face” during the holidays may be a difficult one, but it is vitally important for your children that they have good memories of the holiday season. This festive time of year gives kids something to look forward to, and they shouldn’t fear the onset of the holidays because they are constantly reminded that their families have changed.
If possible, try to do things (during the holidays and throughout the year) as a family; it doesn’t need to be elaborate, but can be as simple as a quick dinner or opening presents together on Christmas morning. If you and your former spouse can cooperate and pledge to have a conflict-free interaction, your children can more easily accept the fact that though you aren’t together, they are still loved and wanted.
If it isn’t possible to have a full-family gathering because the wounds are too fresh with you and your former spouse, you can always start new traditions. You and your children could plan a special Christmas morning breakfast, or stay up to watch the ball drop to ring in the New Year. Having positive events on the horizon, even small ones like being able to stay up past their normal bedtime, can be enough to keep children from getting overwhelmed with sadness because their family is so different now.
Even if you are just filing for divorce during the holiday season, there are still ways to lessen the blow that your children will feel from the split. It is important to have a full understanding of how your child will view the end of your relationship so that you can maintain a sense of stability and security for him (or her).
For more information about ways to handle a divorce to minimize the impact on your children, speak with an experienced family law attorney in your area.