The holiday season, typically a joyous time of the year, can be hard on those going through divorce, especially families with children. With the month of December focused on spending quality time with loved ones, creating memories and participating in family traditions, divorce litigants and their children may have a difficult time fully embracing the all of the season’s good cheer. However, this doesn’t have to be the case.
One surefire way to ensure that the holiday season is enjoyed to its highest potential is to actually make efforts to actively participate time honored traditions and events. Decorating a Christmas tree, lighting a menorah nightly, hanging mistletoe or stringing lights in your windows can all help to put you in the holiday spirit because they elicit feel good memories of happier times. As stated many times previously, a proven method of coping with divorce is to surround yourself with loved ones, and what better time of year to do this than the month of December? From office holiday dinners to family gatherings, and big Christmas bashes to intimate cocktail parties, it is important to try to RSVP to at least a few events this season. Socializing and interacting with others will brighten your spirits and help to keep your mind off of your divorce. However, don’t feel obligated to accept every invitation that comes your way, as alone time can be a great de-stressor and can help you re-focus and re-energize.
Children who find themselves thrown into the throngs of their parent’s divorce will, undoubtedly, have a hard time enjoying the holiday season. Depending on their age, as well as the reasons for divorce and whether the action is contested or uncontested, children may feel like they are being pulled in either direction or being forced to choose sides. This not only puts a damper on Hanukkah, Christmas, or the New Year, but it can be incredibly damaging for years to come. Putting the joyful nature of the holiday season aside, parents should never put their children in the middle of their divorce, and should always practice great and effective co-parenting techniques.
To help children and adolescents enjoy this time of year, divorced single parents should incorporate both new and old traditions throughout the month of December. It isn’t always feasible for both parents to participate in past traditions, however, it is possible to tweak them slightly to work better in a divorce situation. Instead of spending a Saturday baking Christmas cookies with mom and dad, perhaps buy readymade dough and have a cookie decorating party with your children’s cousins. Just as socializing will help you cope with divorce, it will do the same for your children. Co-parenting is not only a cornerstone to ensuring that children enjoy the holiday season, but it is also imperative to their adjustment during, and after, divorce.
It is easy to suggest that divorce participants greet each day with a smile and a positive outlook, and while that is a great attitude to adopt, actually doing so isn’t always possible. Some days will be harder than others, and sometimes a perfectly good day will be offset by a “trigger”, or a reminder of your marriage. Make note of the any triggers or bag days, acknowledge how you feel and why, and move on. Don’t dwell on the fact that you walked by the Macy’s window display alone, when you and your spouse use to do so together every year. Bad days will happen, just as good ones will. The power that positive thinking has on the mind is amazing.
Divorce is difficult, there is no doubt about that. But it doesn’t have to be a dark, depressing, and negative life event. With the right legal team in your corner, a great deal of stress can be removed from your shoulders, allowing you to spend a worry-free holiday season with your children, and friends and extended family members. For more information on New York City divorces, as well as child custody, visitation, and support matters, contact the family law firm of Brian D. Perskin & Associates, P.C. to schedule a free consultation. With over 40 years of combined experience, Brian and his staff of knowledgeable attorneys are experts in New York matrimonial and family law, and regularly appear in courts throughout the five boroughs and Long Island.
photo credit: via Mother and Child UK