Despite what the songs may say, the holiday season might not be the most wonderful time of the year if you're going through a divorce. It is especially hard to be of good cheer while seeing the effect your divorce has on your children. To help your kids kick the divorce related blues and embrace the joy of the holiday season, take these steps:
1. Listen and support.
The first step to beginning the healing process of divorce is simple: listen. Encourage your children to discuss their thoughts and feelings with you. If your children mention that they feel like they are stuck in the middle of you and your ex-spouse, do not get defensive and lecture them. Rather, keep an open mind and address each of their concerns.
Support your children during the difficult and confusing time by reassuring them that mommy and daddy love them very much, and the divorce is not their fault. Just because one parent has moved out, does not mean that they are not a part of the family unit anymore. Sometimes all children need during divorce is a little reassurance to help subdue any negative feelings or thoughts.
2. Keep drama at bay.
Regardless of what material items your children asked Santa Clause for, one item on their list of must-haves that they may not be as vocal about is having parents that get along. The love may be gone between you and your spouse, but that doesn't mean you need to let hostility rule when you're in the same proximity.
Children are very intuitive and will tune into any negative energy that flows between their parents. This can be incredibly stressful for children, and will most likely result in the child being put in the middle of their parent's arguments. A surefire way to help conjure up feelings of holiday cheer for children is to ignore your initial instinct to argue with your ex, and instead, work towards building a new and happy co-parenting relationship. Your children will thank you not only this Christmas, but for the months and years to come.
3. In with the new, and out with the old.
As mentioned previously, it is important to create new holiday traditions with your children during divorce. Some memories, especially those involving both parents, may be bittersweet for children. Instead of following tradition and ordering takeout on Christmas Eve, go ice skating instead. By creating new traditions with your children, you are facilitating in making happy memories that help to usher in joyous holiday feelings.
There is no magical answer or formula to help children of divorce better enjoy the festive holiday season. When it comes down to it, doing so is simple. Children of divorce do not want or need fancy, expensive gifts to help cheer them up or get them into the holiday spirit, they just want to feel the love and warmth of family. A reassurance that everything will work out, and that divorce does not mean a lifetime of anger, anxiety, or depression. All parents have to do is show love, compassion, and understanding. Divorce is sad, but it doesn't have to negatively affect Christmas, Hanukkah, or New Years.
For more information about divorce in New York City, contact the family law firm of Brian D. Perskin & Associates, P.C. With over 50 years of combined experience representing New Yorkers in a multitude of matrimonial, custody, and support cases, Brian and his well-rounded staff are experts in negotiation and litigation, and routinely represent their clients both in and out of the court room. Call 718-875-7584 or 646-759-0167 to schedule a free consultation today!