Navigating the Holidays as a Divorced Parent: Six Tips for Success
The holiday season is here, making it a good time to discuss the obstacles that many divorced parents experience and viable solutions to ease their emotional burdens. Both children and parents face a myriad of challenges as they learn to handle the holidays absent the traditional family activities and standards. This is why our Columbia divorce lawyer at Masella Law Firm, P.A. complied six effective tips for divorced parents to consider as they enter the holiday season:
Establish a firm parenting schedule
A divorce that doesn’t involve children is significantly different to a divorce that does. As such, it is crucial to be mindful that your divorce is still a partnership that requires both you and your ex-spouse to be on the same page for your kids’ sakes, especially during the holidays. To help reduce the chaos and emotional trauma of miscommunication and spending time away from your children, respectively, formulate a holiday parenting schedule with your ex. It may include various options such as splitting parenting time on the actual holiday or assigning specific holidays to each parent for certain years.
Gather with friends and family
Parents who don’t have custody of their children during the holidays may experience overwhelming sadness and anxiety. Considering the fact that family and friends reunite during this time, the holiday season can be an emotional time for divorced parents. However, it doesn’t have to be. If you are celebrating the holidays without your kids this year, surround yourself with friends and other family members instead. Remember, you don’t have to be alone just because your children are with your ex-spouse.
The holidays are a great time to take extra good care of yourself. If you are employed, you likely have time off on certain days, making it a good excuse to practice some self-care. Consider sleeping in, reading a book, taking a walk, shopping, watching TV and movies, or reaching out to your loved ones for support. You deserve to do things that improve your emotional and mental health, especially during the holidays as a divorced parent. Thus, we advise you to enjoy the holiday and do things for yourself that you otherwise wouldn’t do if you have your children at home.
Contact other divorced parents
Nearly 800,000 US couples are divorced. With this in mind, we want to remind you that you are not alone during the holidays. Although it may feel quiet and lonely without your kids, you may find comfort and reassurance in knowing that hundreds of thousands of Americans are feeling the same way. There is a high chance that you personally know a divorced parent, whether they be your co-worker, friend, or family member, therefore you could benefit from reaching out to them for emotional support during the holidays. When you do, a massive weight may be lifted off your shoulders as you regain some long-awaited peace of mind.
Acknowledge and respect your children’s feelings
While the holidays are difficult for divorced parents, they are even more difficult for children of divorced parents. Your children may be feeling sad, angry, and confused as they try to navigate the holidays without both parents in the picture, which is why it may help to recognize their feelings, so they feel understood. Rather than saying “At least you get two celebrations,” consider shifting the narrative to “I understand that you are feeling sad about not seeing your mom this year” or “How can I help make this holiday special for you despite the circumstances?”
Create new traditions
A divorce inevitably brings change — permanent change. As such, divorced parents should strongly consider devising new traditions to accommodate their new lives and schedules. Although some divorced parents celebrate the holidays together to support their kids’ wishes, many choose to shift traditions to fit their new family dynamic. New holiday tradition ideas may include volunteering at a local soup kitchen, going to a play or concert, cooking up a special dish, visiting long lost relatives, or watching a holiday movie after dinner.
Contact Masella Law Firm, P.A. Today
To speak to a trusted and experienced family lawyer in Columbia, please contact us at (803) 938-4952. During a personal initial consultation, our attorney will evaluate your situation and listen to your goals to devise an effective plan of action on your behalf. We will champion the best interests of you and your children every step of the way.