JLJ Family Law » Posts for tag 'Divorce During the Holidays'

“Top Ten Ways to Survive the Holidays During and After Divorce”

Author: Shellee Darnell, M.F.C.C.

Coping with separation, divorce and loss is MAGNIFIED as the holiday season approaches. Many people feel overwhelmed by the stress and strain of trying to maintain the status quo, when in fact, their entire world is collapsing around them. The Holiday season serves as a constant reminder of festive, happier times and is contrasted by the stark reality of loneliness and despair. While others are eagerly anticipating the holidays, a newly separated or divorced person often approaches this time of year with panic, sadness, and dread. Although there are no magical solutions to cure the holiday blues, there are things you can do to make it easier to cope.

Plan Ahead - Plan to do something that is fun, relaxing, and as stress free as possible with people you really care about. If the holidays are just too painful and the reminders are everywhere, consider a vacation that allows you to “escape” the painful triggers.

Create new rituals and family traditions – While you may want to hold on to some of the past traditions, it’s a good idea to create some new rituals with friends and family. (Consider an alternative day, time, place, etc.)

Reassure kids that holiday celebrations will continue, just in a different way - Children can help create some of the new holiday rituals and traditions. Take time to brainstorm with your children about new ideas for celebrating.

Ask if you are acting “in the best interest of the child” - Decide ahead of time how holidays will be divided. Reassure kids that you will be OK while they are with the other parent. Remember, tired kids will be stressed out and cranky, so plan according to their ages and ability to adjust. Keep the arrangements as simple as possible.

Make a schedule – Make a list of everything you need to do for the holidays and a target date to accomplish your goals. This will help you to feel more in control and less stressed. Delegate tasks appropriately.

Ask for help from supportive family and friends - Rely on a healthy support system if you are feeling isolated, lonely or depressed. Tell your support people what you need from them (companionship, understanding, compassion, listening, etc.)

Be realistic – “Picture perfect” holidays are usually just an illusion. Have realistic expectations about the holiday season, especially the first year.

Take care of yourself – Get the proper amount of sleep and exercise and eat healthy in order to maximize your ability to cope. It’s easy to overeat or party too much to medicate your pain, but in the long run, it creates more problems.

Schedule time for rest, relaxation and nurturing - Give yourself a break. You deserve it!

One day at a time, one holiday at a time - It will get easier. It will get better. It will hurt less. Right now, just concentrate on one thing at a time!

If you are feeling overwhelmed, anxious, depressed, or stuck, get professional help. Therapy can provide a safe, supportive environment in which you can gain insight, learn problem solving skills and find solutions to dealing with the anger and pain of separation and divorce.

As seen on DivorceWizards.com

For more information, visit www.aj-familylaw.com

Holidays After Divorce

Author: E.R. Reid

Divorce. I have been there and done that, along with 19 million other adults in this country. Although it has lost some of its stigma over the years, divorce hasn’t lost any of its heartache. As a divorced parent, nothing is more heart breaking than watching the impact of divorce on your children. They are usually the last to know and the most affected.

But even more painful is the first time you have to spend a holiday apart from your children. As busy professionals, a holiday is one of the few times we can break the routine and spend significant quality time with our loved ones. Having to forfeit this time with my children was, for me, strange and empty (sad is an understatement).

What’s a Working Parent to Do?

So how can we minimize the pain and make the holidays most enjoyable for our children and ourselves? As a corporate strategist, my success comes from knowing how to see issues from my client’s perspective. As a parent, I needed to do the same thing for my children. Having observed both healthy and unhealthy post-divorce families, my suggestions are derived from seeing divorce from a child’s point of view. The key thing to remember is that we divorced our spouses but not our children. Efforts should be made to ensure their happiness, which in turn will help ensure our own.

Keep It Simple

Divorce is traumatic enough for children without adding unnecessary complexity to their schedule. Decide early on who will take the children on which holiday, and avoid splitting the day (one of you has them in the morning and one in the evening). Splitting the day is disruptive to everyone’s celebration because the anticipation of knowing you have to go somewhere else makes it hard to enjoy the few hours you do have together.

It’s highly recommended that if you have two or more children you don’t split them up. Whether they express it or not, children support and comfort each other. Splitting them decreases their sense of security and connection.

A phone call in the morning to say hello and wish them a great day is a must to help them feel OK about being away from you for that special day. But don’t lay guilt on the children by telling them how much you wish they could be with you instead. Just wish them a great time and tell them you look forward to seeing them when they return again.

Most important is that both parents send a consistent message to the children that the holidays are still a special and great time of year even though both parents won’t be sharing it together.

Your Child Is Watching, Listening and Responding!

Our children learn culture, character and esteem from us. They take cues about what is acceptable from what we do, not necessarily from what we say. The way you handle yourself and your relationship with your former spouse will be the way your children learn to handle complex issues and relationships in their own lives.

So even after the holiday move forward productively by bagging the bitterness! Instead, focus on taking away helpful lessons from your marriage experience. Then, use this new knowledge to become better. Despite the reasons you divorced, your mental attitude is critical to not only surviving, but thriving as a family. If you have the right mindset, then you can feel confident that you and your children will be all right.

Take Care of Yourself

If you are not with your children this holiday, make sure you spend the day with supportive family and/or friends. Avoid “the downers” as I like to call them, which are friends who speak negatively to you about your ex-spouse in order to arouse your anger. Spend time with those that love you and want to help you move on by giving you new and better things to talk about.

As seen on PreschoolersToday.com.

For more information on family law solutions, visit www.aj-familylaw.com